Gathering steam

The campaign to save Sandfields Pumping Station in Lichfield for the community continues apace. Dave Moore has been putting heart and soul into this for some months now, and he needs a little bit of help.

I know that Andy Dennis has worked in planning, and may be able to help or at least point Dave at someone who can. I, and I’m sure all readers of this blog support the aim to preserve and maintain this historic building – and the engine it contains – for posterity. Sandfields is a landmark on the skyline of Lichfield from the south, and a handsome piece of architecture in it’s own right.

Do pop over to Dave Moore’s blog and check out the history of this almost forgotten gem.

I can’t really add much here, so I’ll let Dave put it in his own words.

Sandfields Pumping Station

This is a remarkable, severe but beautiful building, now almost marooned in a sea of new development. Image from Dave Moore’s Flickr photo stream.

Dear Bob

I wonder if it would be possible to put a help request on your blog.

Things at Sandfields are moving, but ever so slowly. We’re hoping for a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to carry out an options appraisal. This is basically a heritage assessment and will assessing the viability of possible end uses for the building and contents. This options appraisal should be completed by August 2013.

In the mean time, while we are waiting for the heritage assessment to take place, I feel that the next most urgent task would be to upgrade the listing status of the building and engine from grade ll to grade ii*.

I have already had a few phone calls with English Heritage about this, unfortunately they will not do it for us; we have to make an application to amend the listing status.

I have made a start, however two heads are better than one and three are better still, so was wondering if any of your readers had any previous experience or knowledge of doing this, and if so could they offer any help or advice?


David Moore

If you feel you can help, please comment here and I’ll hook you up with Dave, or send me an email at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot Com. Cheers.

Sandfields Pumping Station

The engine is wonderful. I saw it in 2001, and it really is a gem. Image from Dave Moore’s Flickr photo stream.

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35 Responses to Gathering steam

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    As you know, I have particular opinions on the way we go about conservation of built heritage. English Heritage is woefully under-resourced as are local councils, who are charged with a legal obligation to conserve buildings and areas of historic or architectural interest. This lack of resources forces the onus onto private individuals with no, or limited, financial resources and expertise in what is a highly specialised discipline.

    In my career as a town planner my specialisms were more or less at the opposite end of the spectrum, so I have no idea how you upgrade listed status. I think my starting point would be to discuss the issue with the relevant council officer; even if they disagree their explanation may help to build a case to present to English Heritage. The manager at Lichfield Council is Dan Roberts, who works part time for the council and part time as a lecturer at Birmingham City University. Doubtless, he is rushed off his feet, but there are few better sources of advice.

    One obvious question is what is so special about this particular pumping station relative to others, such as Pipe Hill, Stonnall and Little Hay? What is their status? Brindley Bank, Rugeley, has grade II* status. How does Sandfields compare?

    • morturn says:


      Thank you indeed for that, to me that sound like some good old fashion common sense advice.

      I have to admit that this is tuning out to be an incredibly complex project, the levels and depth of skill and knowledge required are well beyond my means. However saying that, I still firmly believe that having a go is still the best option and have drawn strength from some of the folks who have voiced their support with me.

      Ill have a chat with Dan Roberts if I can, he certainly sounds like the ideal person.

      Thanks again

      • Andy Dennis says:

        Further thought.

        If Brindley Bank has a star there must be something in the assessment that sets it apart from other structures. Presumably, Cannock Chase Council will have a file somewhere that explains why a star is warranted, though the British Listed Buildings webpage might be enough – Dan may not be aware of Brindley Bank’s merits, so pointing to something for comparison with Sandfields might help. (I don’t think I know anyone at Cannock Chase.)

        Pictures at station&searchType=all&form=basic&theme=&county=&district=&placeName= and next image.

        There is no denying this has something special about it. However, Sandfields is in a different style and encloses a different type of Engine, so may be sufficiently important in its own right, perhaps including showing the evolution of designs and technology. The challenge will be to secure agreement that Sandfields is also of national importance. I quote your own words on Midlands Heritage: “This engine is unique, and is the only surviving engine in the whole world of its kind and condition”. Must be a strong argument?

        • Thanks, Andy, it’s wonderful to have such a knowledgable and helpful chap around on these matters.
          Your input is brilliant.

        • Andy

          A big thanks form me too, there is food for thought, and it also shows how collaborative history works at its very best.

          I am slowly building up a number of unique aspects of the building and Engine at Sandfields, and have a couple of people to see next week who have connections with it.

          Thanks again for the input.

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