Several times over the previous eight years of this blog the question of the function and decommissioning of the steam pump that once stood at Chasewater has cropped up, and always provokes interesting debate – well, reader Ian James has been in touch with a snippet of information he’s found in a book relating to the long gone pumping plant.
The reservoir, you’ll recall, was built to (and still does) feed the local canal network with water, as every time a lock is used, water is lost downhill. The pump seems to have recovered water back into the main reservoir when excess was available.
The engine in question stood near the dam houses that still exist today, between them and the small overflow pool called the ‘Nine Foot’ (so called because of the depth gauge that used to sit in it).
It can be seen on this map section from 1882 (top left):
There has been a lot of debate about this subject in the past, and courtesy of reader and contributor Ruth Penrhyn-Lowe I was able to share a remarkable postcard, which gave far more detail than previously seen. That can be seen at the head of this post.
We established over the years that several local mines discharged water into the local canal, and when levels were high, this waster was returned to Chasewater (then called ‘Cannock Chase Reservoir’ or more commonly ‘Norton Pool’). I’m not sure where I gained the information but I’m pretty sure that one mine owner even charged Birmingham Canal Navigations for the water supplied!
The new contribution clarifies the point well, as well as giving the definitive answer as to what became of the engine. Ian wrote:
Some eons ago, there was a question on your superb website about the Pumping Station at Chasewater asking for information.
I came across the attached copies out of a book and it can still be found on Ebay and Abe. And something called a library?
Sorry about the quality, it’s a copy of copy at the very least.
The Canals of the West Midlands by Charles Hadfield
ISBN 10: 0715346601 / ISBN 13: 9780715346600 (ISBN: 9780715386446 feb 85)
It seems that each stretch of canal is at a known height above mean sea level, ours is 473 ft in old money.
Some of the maps label an aquaduct and the picture from the Nine Foot pool show the pipe across the the Valve House. I guess they just dropped the water down there and, with the valves closed, the water went back in to the reservoir.
A couple of sections of the brick pillars beneath the elevated pipe are still on the property as well as the base of one pillar.
They sure made things to last in those days. I really wish they had left notes for the new dam engineers.
Thanks to Ian for an excellent and most valuable contribution, which I’m sure will interest readers and prompt yet more discussion.
If you have a view (and who doesn’t?) please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.