Crofton Pump House
Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire
|The oldest operational Watt style bean engine,
restored and can be seen working.
Originally built in 1807-8, it lifts water from
a pond fed by a number of streams up to a level to supply the canal. Later a
reservoir known now as Wilton Water was also created here, fed from rainwater
falling on nearby hills. Built to house two engines, it originally had one, the
second being added in 1812.
With a replacement engine and some
modifications they ran by steam until the 1950's when the state of the chimney
caused it to be reduced in height by 36ft, and the reduction on height reduced
the draught and the system was no longer workable. An electric pump then took
over. Restoration later taking place and one engine being replaced with another
brought in. One engine was working again in 1970 and the other 18 months later
in 1971, the chimney problem being temporarily overcome by running an electric
fan in the chimney. By 1997 the chimney had been restored to its original full
height of 82ft.
The pumping station is in daily use today, but usually driven by electric
pumps, however on a number of days each year the boilers are stoked up and the
original beam engine comes to life. There are two beam engines each able to lift
around a ton of water on each stroke and running at around 11 strokes per
Another pumping station on the Kennet and Avon canal is at Claverton,
), this was a water wheel driven beam engine. The waterwheel, was 24ft wide and 17ft in diameter. It has now been restored.
Location: Crofton Pump House, Crofton, Nr
Grid Reference: SU261622
Multimap large scale OS
Getting there: Crofton Pumping Station is 6 miles (10km) South East of Marlborough, and
6 miles (10km) South West of Hungerford.
From Marlborough, either take the A346 to Burbage, then follow the brown
'Beam Engines' signs, or proceed on the A4 towards Hungerford, then
turn right, at the brown 'Beam Engines' sign before Froxfield,
proceed into Great Bedwyn, and continue to follow the brown signs to the
From Hungerford, proceed towards Salisbury on the A338, turn right at
Shalbourne following the signs to Great Bedwyn, then follow the brown
'Beam Engines' signs to the Pumping Station.
From the Salisbury Direction, follow the signs to Hungerford on the A338,
then turn left at East Grafton, following the brown 'Beam Engines'
signs to the Pumping Station.
You can also reach it from the canal towpath.
Access: This site is not really suitable for
wheelchairs and when the engine is running it can be noisy and have a lot of
moving parts, so may not appeal to everyone. However if you have an interest
in engineering this is a site that you will find very interesting.
Kennet and Avon
Trust - Crofton page
Other Useful Websites:
Wikipedia - Crofton_Pumping_Station
Wikipedia - Kennet_and_Avon_Canal
Wikipedia - Wilton_Water
er23fc45@CroftonBeamEngines.org (If this does not work check their
Address: Crofton Pumping Station, Crofton,
Postcode: SN8 3DW
Telephone: 01672 870300
Opening Times: Access is available in 2009
between April and September 27th, on all days except Wednesdays. Open
10:30am-5pm last entry at 4:30pm.
Engines in steam: 2009 -
April 11-13(Easter); May 2-4, May 23-25, June 27-28, August 1-2,
29-31, September 26-27. The two Engines run alternately with about a 50
minute run and 10 minute break until the next. A schedule is on their website
with a pop-up link from
Steam Gala 27th and 28th September.
Charges: When in steam - Adults £7.00, Seniors
£6.00, Child £2.50, Families (2+2) £16.00.
Other times (not in steam) Adults £4.50, Seniors £4.00, Child
£2.50, Families (2+ 2) £11.00.
Under 5's in each case are free.
Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Members FREE.
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages:
Lock Flights and
Canals in England
Non Navigable and Lost Canals
Further information - canals
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