The Crossness Pumping Station Blog

Please give us your thoughts, comments and questions about the Pumping Station together with any suggestions or ideas you may have on how the visitor experience could be improved for the future.

We hope to be open to the public on a regular basis from the middle of next year so any input from you now would be invaluable in helping  the Trust to get it right.

We look forward to hearing from you.

63 thoughts on “The Crossness Pumping Station Blog

  1. Crossness Haiku

    Unseen it does flow
    Through red brick tunnels beneath
    Thirty feet below

    Arriving at last
    Great beam engines power pumps
    Reservoir fills, slow

    The tide it does turn
    Gates open, it flows again
    Thames takes it to sea

  2. We visited on the Open Day 23 September 2012, and can thoroughly recommend this as a very interesting day out for the whole family. Everything was very well organised and all the volunteers were helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. I congratulate all those who are working to save and restore this superb piece of engineering history for us and for those in the future who will come to enjoy it. Your efforts are appreciated and I hope it encourages others to take part in this or similar work, and keep these essential practical engineering skills going.

    Beryl Pratt, Orpington, Kent

    • Thank you for your support Beryl, hope you enjoyed your visit and come back to visit us soon…Chris.

  3. I love this old engineering stuff so much!
    It’s a pitty that there are so few photo’s on your website.

    Regrards, Willem

  4. The children from year 6 of Rockliffe Manor school paid us a visit today (Tuesday 9 oct,). All children and teachers thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

  5. Sunnday 14 October. A large contingent of the Kent Underground Research Group paid us a return visit to dig the sand out from underneath Victoria, and the tunnel leading to the outside of the building which was used to remove solids from the incoming water before it was pumped out. They hope to return to locate the source of water that keeps coming in at regular intervals, and flooding the basement.

  6. Tuesday 16 October. 28 children from years 5/6 from Bannockburn School, paid us a visit this morning. Our master in charge, Rob Parker, commented how well behaved the children were.

  7. Kieran Massey and his team from the Fords Dagenham engine engineering works, joined us today as part of their community service scheme. They worked all morning in the garden, digging trenches for new pathways until lunch time, when rain stopped play. After lunch they transferred to the Engine House, polishing the brass work in the Octagon.
    It is hoped that on Sunday 21st October (our Open Day) they will be able to return to see Prince Consort steaming.
    Ray Arnold. 19 October 2012.

  8. Ray Arnold. 19 October . Did anybody see us on BBC 4, on Tuesday 16 October. The program was called Order And Disorder. Personally found it a bit heavy going, but some good shots of Crossness outside and in, and Prince Consort in steam. In fact too much steam. I hope future visitors do not expect such an abundance. But at least it gave a good effect of Victorian machinery at its best.

  9. Really busy day today for the last steaming day of the year, thank you to all who supported us today and hope to see you all again next year…

  10. Went toeday to the on steam day, brilliant, amazing been meaning to visit for ages
    very impressed by the restoration works already carried out here especially the size of the task in hand. Amazed at the size of the beams and the weight of these and all the ancillaries, the transportation of these from the Midlands and the erection on site what a job!. Keep up the good work fella’s it’s looking very good so far. Really did like walking around the workshop to see all the lathes settings all in sensible numbers we understand, good old inches and fractions of same!!.
    Also the caf’e sandwiches were very nice and sensibly priced. (been used to English Heratage, say no more!!).
    Dave GS.

  11. What a good day Sunday (21 oct) turned out to be. 964 entrance tickets were issued. This must be a record attendance for the last steaming day of the year.

  12. A group from Gallions Housing Association paid us a welcome visit today. They came in with the wind in the sails, were blown away by what they saw,and left on a high tide.

    • Gallions were very suprised at what was on their doorstep and asked me to thank all the volunteers for making them welcome and to Roger Taylor for the tour around the site…

  13. I also saw crossness on on order and disorder. What an amazing looking building. They don’t design industrial like that any more. Such a shame I missed your last open day of the year. I will make sure to make a note for 2013. Good luck with everything.

  14. Members of The Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, which was founded in North London in 1839, joined us today for a brief visit. The group of mature students are doing a course on a ‘History of 19th Century London’. I hope they found it very instructive and educating. I will be asking you questions later!!!!

  15. It was announced on the news today that a very rare bumblebee has been found on the Crossness Sewerage Works site. It was found by a group called Beewatch, and is called The Shrill Carder Bumblebee or (Bombus Sylvarum). There are only a few areas where this species can still be found. But if you hop over the fence into the Crossness Engines site, there are more rare species to found. In the workshop there is to be found the Green Coated Harry Hammer, while if all is quiet at locking up time you may be lucky to hear the shrill cry of the Whistleing Wilson. While in the basement of the Engine House we occasionally get a group of Moles “Beavering” away in the sand. Ray Arnold. The Crossness Courier.

  16. More children from years 5 and 6 of Bannockburn School attended a very instructive morning with us today. I hope they have learned their lesson.

  17. With a substantial grant from Biffa, the Waste Management And Recycling Specialists, and The City Bridge Trust, we are starting to turn the piece of ground to the left of the river walk gates, into an ecological wildlife garden. Under the management of head groundsman Roger Taylor, and the help of Thames Water, this area has now been cleared with a mechanical digger of all the undergrowth, and planning can now go ahead with the help of Jan Golding, our resident bugs and wildlife expert, on what we can now plant to encourage these species to make their home and multiply. Watch this space. The Crossness Courier.

  18. The black poplar tree that has stood near to the valve house, has finally been cut down. The tree had a fungus that was eating away the inside, and therefore made it very dangerous. Contractors came in on Thursday 22 and chopped it down. The Crossness Courier.

    • Lots of recycling from this tree also, the crown is staying as a display piece for nesting animals to use, stumps will become seating, the long limbs will be used as path edging and the woodchippings will be spread to form the base of the path, nothing goes to waste here at Crossness…

  19. Nuts!!! Yes nuts, and big one at that. A 7 inch one that fitted under the intermediate piston on Victoria has finally been removed. To be precise, it has been drilled through in three places, hammered, flogged and finally split. It only took three weeks of hard graft, by Peter Griffiths and his crew, but the end justified the means. When they tried to remove the corresponding nut on Prince Consort, it was found that no amount of persuading with spanners of all types, length, shape and form could get the nut to move. In the end it also had to be split. Now it’s another marathon to get the piston off the shaft. The Crossness Courier.

  20. Since our last steaming day in October, we have had 10 new members who have become working volunteers. This bodes well for the future of Crossness as there are always 101 jobs to be done. Wether it’s restoration work on Victoria, machining in the workshop, or filling the variouse components to clean them ready for refitting, there is always work for skilled and unskilled labour. There are also loads of work to be carried out on the building itself. Brickwork, carpentry, painting, plumbing, heating, or even just keeping the building clean, are all tasks that have to be done, and all as important as each other. The gardens and extensive grounds, are another area that requires masses of time and effort to get things ready for next years steaming days. If you feel you would like to help us with any of this work and meeting with up to 50 like minded volunteers, male and female, young and old,then please get in touch with our membership secretary,Greg Warner,on 0208 311 1808 or at Even if you have no technical skills at all, but just want to get your hands dirty,there will always be someone to show you the way. The crossness Courier.

  21. “MORE!!! Did you say more boy? What the Dickens are you talking about?” said the Beadle.
    “Please sir” said the young Robbie “There were more boys and girls from Bannockburn School come to visit us today (27/11/12) from years 5 and 6.”
    The Beadle asked ” Can we expect any more of these young children?”
    “No sir”, relpied Robbie “they’ve all been here now”.
    “Well, let that be an end to it, but then again perhaps next year……….?”
    The Crossness Courier.

  22. A bakers dozen of Rotarians from Strood in Kent, came to pay us a visit today to look at our Rotary Engines. They were introduced by Ray Flemming, who was with one of their members with the Association Of Boys Clubs. The Crossness Courier.

    • What a fantastic project and we thank you for a great tour around the works. The end results are a credit to the dedication of the volunteers who have restored one engine and working on the second already. Thanks Ray and Wally for a first class morning.


    • We have all ages of children that visit the site as long as they are with a responsible adult then its fine…


  23. Thanks for agreeing that the statement”children under the age of 8 are not admitted”is incorrect.That we are open and take bookings for visits on Tuesday and Sunday is also incorrect.
    On Steaming days we welcome all from the cradle to the grave.
    George Olmit. volunteer

  24. So here we are at the start of another new year, and what a busy 2013 it’s going to be. 5 themed steaming dates have been arranged for the public, so enough there to keep us all busy. The filming and corporate function bookings are starting to fill nicely. Work on Victoria’s restoration continues, along with the surrounding iron flooring. It is hoped to get the new kitchen area fitted to the boiler house pod. There is a mains water supply to run underground through the gardens and into the fitting shop. Heating pipes also have to be run the same way to connect to the restored heating units and also to connect to heating in the valve house. The paved area to the garden entrance is nearing completion. Then the pathways can be relaid with new edging. The Victorian garden will then be dug up and a new retaining wall can be built so that a new hedge can be planted. Some of the saved plant can then be replaced and new species added, in the Victorian theme. Work to the ecological garden goes on apace, with a number of new trees to be planted along with screening bushes and wild flowers. The “Woolwich” project continues, with the chassis away for sand blasting, the boiler requires retubeing, new water tanks have to be made and all refitted. I look forward to steam up. There are a load more projects going on, too many to fit in. So as I mentioned before, plenty of work to keep us all occupied. It just leaves me to wish you all a happy, qprosperous and busy new year. The Crossness Courier.

  25. A lot of our visitors have asked to see more pictures and videos of the cathedal on the marsh commonly known as Crossness, above is a link to the Facebook page, please click on the like button as we will then know that we have had interest in the webpage.

    I will be putting more videos and pictures of the site that the public would normally not have access to so please re visit the site weekly as I will be keeping it updated with some interesting stuff….


  26. A lot of our visitors have asked to see more pictures and videos of the cathedal on the marsh commonly known as Crossness, below is a link to the Facebook page, please click on the like button as we will then know that we have had interest in the webpage.

    I will be putting more videos and pictures of the site that the public would normally not have access to so please re visit the site weekly as I will be keeping it updated with some interesting stuff….


  27. I’m a newbie volunteer. 3 days in and I am hugely impressed with the dedication of the volunteer team here. Carpenters, engineers, sparks, roadmakers, metal benders, steam gurus, landscapers, administrators. They have passion, purpose and a burning desire to get this place steaming on all engines. Glad to be part of this historic venture.

  28. Last Thursday 24/1/13. Directors and staff of our building materials suppliers, Harris & Bailey Limited, held a corporate day at the museum as part of their Century celebrations. Prince Consort was steamed and run for them and afterwards they enjoyed a lovely curry lunch. Their directors kindly donated us an air compressor and 2 large drums of steaming oil.

    • One of Harris and Baileys guests was so impressed by the work put in by the volunteers sent a letter together with a cheque for £50.

  29. Last Friday, a film company on behalf of BBC 2 and fronted by Dr Lucy Worsley, used our building for a forthcoming programme. Dr Lucy is currently Currator Of Historic Royal Palaces, and was seen on the 4 part series, If Walls Could Talk. This coming Thursday, we shall be featured on the CBEEBIES channel, with Nina and the Nuerons on Go Engineering at 1630.

  30. One of the main sponsors of the enviromental area (Biffa) sent us the first plaque, this has been erected on the crown stump of the black poplar which we saved as it has natural holes for small creature to hide or nest in…

    This has been placed at the entrance to the area, also the first plantings have gone in, six holly whips collected by Jan Golding our resident plant expert.

    13 tonnes of topsoil and compost have been added to the ground ready for spreading when planting commences in the next week or two.

    More pictures added to our Facebook website..!/TheCrossnessEnginesTrust?fref=ts

    Regards Chris.

  31. Has anybody been watching Howard Goodalls “The History of music”. Some of it was filmed at Crossness. So far my favourite part was of a soprano standing on the small gantry above Prince Regent singing the Status Quo song, Rocking All Over The World, but in an operatic way. We have to date been shown on two program’s, so far with.

  32. All the trees and plants for the new Eco garden centre arrived on Tuesday and Roger Taylor and his merry band of men wasted no time in getting them planted before the frost got to the roots.

  33. Had a very interesting day at Crossness today, we had members from the Kent Underground Research Group digging out sand with us, while a kango drill was being used some of the sand gave way to a chamber that had not been seen since the backfilling circa 1953, a video of us entering for the first time can be seen on the link below….

  34. School visit. 25 students from Roedkilde High School, Vejle, Denmark, called into us on Tuesday 19 March, as part of their whistle stop tour of London. They arrived last Saturday and return home on Thursday. After speaking to their Teacher Rasmus, he said that they were all delighted by what they have seen, but a little bit tired, as they had walked all the way from Belvedere station.

  35. On Sunday 24 march, 40 walkers came in via the river entrance, for a tour around the site. Led by the intrepid walk master Ian Bull, as part of London Walks, sponsored by Transport For London. Perhaps T.F.L think it’s quicker to walk??? After alighting from Abbey Wood Station, they went around the lake at Thamesmead, where “A Clockwork Orange” was filmed. They then carried on down the Ridgeway past the golf course and onto the river bank. They were greeted by Mike Jones and a hot cup of tea from Jan Goulding. After there tour, they carried on down the river bank to the Woolwich Arsenal site. Phew!! I am tired just writing this let alone walking it. Apart from his connection with our engine “Woolwich” Ian does a variety of walks all over south east London, and can be contacted via the Web, and Facebook. The Crossness Courier.

  36. Today was the first day of filming for Babes With Blades Flower of Sarnia, the lead actress in the film is Cecily Fay, very handy with a sword but after chatting with her she is not as scary as she seems and is very pleasant , a snippet of the filming can be seen on the link below and the dilm is due out sometime late 2014….

  37. What a good day last Sunday was. The London Marathon, and another successful steaming day. Nearly 650 people through the doors,with the boiler house being used by the Local History Fair (in association with Bexley Civic Society). And best of all for those working outside, a nice dry and sunny day. What could be better? Our next steaming day will be on Sunday 23rd June, when the theme will be Model Engineering. The Crossness Courier.

  38. Yesterday, the program that was recorded by Dr Lucy Worsley at Crossness in January, was shown on BBC 2 at 9pm. The program was called Fit To Rule( how royal illness changed history). It featured the Engine House with large pictures of the Kings and Queens and other members of the Royal Family, from King George the 3rd, to Queen Victoria.

  39. Have just watched Wednesday’s episode of the BBC series ” Coast”. Some very nice shots of inside and outside of Crossness, hosted by Tessa Dunlop. She then went on to describe how most of the deaths from the Princess Alice disaster were the responsibility of Sir Joseph’s Beckton Plant discharging at the same time. I know I am biased, but Sir Joseph was not keeping watch on the bow of the Alice or the Bywell Castle, neither was anybody else. In the unfortunate Marchioness disaster 51 people lost their lives in supposedly much cleaner water in a relatively similar accident . I would hate to think how many people would have lost their lives if the sewerage works had not gone ahead. Yes, we do know that the original scheme was not as successful as was first perceived and that boats had then to be employed taking slurry out to the Thames Estuary, but putting the blame down to Sir Joseph’s sewers is out of context. After all that, I still thought that it was an entertaining program.
    Being on the “box” twice in one week must be a record. The Crossness Courier.

  40. Friday 17th May
    We were visited today by the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cllr. David Grant and his wife Cllr. Ann Grant who were joined by the Mayor of Bexley Cllr. Alan Downing and his wife Cllr. Ross Downing. Also in attendance was the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Dr. Pieter van der Merwe MBE, who is the General Editor and Greenwich Curator of The Royal Museums of Greenwich. They stayed for approximately two hours and were given a tour around the site by former Greenwich MP John Austin, who is our current Chairperson and by our Secretary Mike Jones.

    The Crossness Courier – Ray Arnold

  41. Two school visits yesterday Tuesday 11 june. The 1st was 30 pupils led by their teacher Susan Forsom and her helpers, from Parkway Primary School Alsike road Belvedere. The 2nd visit was by students from the University of New York in the US of A. They stopped of while visiting other sites in London, led by Profesor Mosette Broderick.

  42. The school children were very interested,with lots of questions,although the best part of the day was to be able to eat a packed lunch in a Sewage Works. You can also have the pleasure on Steaming Day 23rd June 2013.

  43. 16 July saw another visit by an American University. This time we had 7 students from the Midwest State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, led by their Professor Dr Sheldon Wang. The students were doing Engineering studies. Coming from Texas, I hope they found our engines beefy enough.

    The Crossness Courier.

  44. 9 July. Had a visit from Arizona State University of 26 students led by Dr Stojanowski and Dr Toon. Some were studying Global Health the others were doing Museum studies. The Crossness Courier.

  45. The steaming day and vintage transport exhibition on Sunday 28 July was a great success the weather being ideal for the outside events and the Beam Engine House nice and cool. Pride of place was taken with the ad hoc collection of the trust’s own motorised equipment , in daily use around the site and a volunteers car which if not vintage , certainly ancient.
    We also had a visit from one of our volunteers, Ron Wade, who suffered a stroke and is paraplegic ,but determined to keep in touch.He single handed kept the grounds in a reasonable condition and initially stocked the cooling pond with fish.
    This visit was no easy task ,requiring a private ambulance three nursing staff and a state of the art life support system wheel chair .Ron said he was pleased with the day out and would try and make it a annual event.

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