Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler has been in touch with a lovely quick snippet he spotted in the excellent History of the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, which is available online for free. It really is an excellent read and deserves wider exposure.
His find concerns the Harrison dynasty; mine owners and local industrialists, much about whom has been written by Peter.
It seems Captain Harrison might have been a bit of a NIMBY. Sandfields pumping station was just on the south side of Lichfield, at the bottom of Aldershaw(e) Hill, where the Victorian part of it still stands today.
It seems The Captain wouldn’t have cared much for the pumping station as he clearly had his own water supply up at the hall. The Harrison family held Aldershaw(e) for a while; long-time readers will recall discussion of their tenure from last year.
I’m unsure of Sandfields Pumping Station’s current status; I took some pictures at an open day there organised by a preservation group – The Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station – over a decade ago, but they seem to have dissolved. There’s a recent blog post – from only a week ago – by one Dave Moore, who seems to have positive news. I’m also intrigued that the source was the fabled Hanch Tunnel.
If anyone has any more information about the current status of Sandfields, I’d love to hear it, and so would Kate, of Lichfield Lore who’s also interested in the building and engine within.
Back in 1896, Captain Harrison was not a happy bunny – it seems that whilst happy to profit from Old King Coal, he wasn’t too happy having the results on his doorstep:
The emission of smoke from the stacks at pumping stations (South Staffs Water Co.) had on numerous occasions been a cause for complaint from residents in the neighbourhood. Major cause for complaint had been Sandfields when at times court action was threatened. Captain Harrison of Aldershaw, Lichfield, complained of the smoke at Sandfields, furnishing daily reports of the smoke at various times of the day. The reports were couched in somewhat extravagant language, intending to indicate that the chimney was barely ever doing anything.
His statement was considered by the Engineer to be very exaggerated, in view of the amount of smoke issuing out from the brewery’s stacks and the shunting engines on the coal sidings adjoining the pumping station. Consideration was given to installing mechanical stokers but the cost of these and the condition of the boilers resulted in the hand firing method being continued.
(From The History of the Staffordshire Waterworks Company)