Lichfield Waterworks Trust February 2020 public meeting takes place this evening


Sandfields Pumping Station – a great historic building with immense history and social significance – not just to Lichfield, but to the Black Country. Lichfield Discovered and local historian Dave Moore have saved this valuable asset for the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station champion and public historian extraordinaire Dave Moore has been in touch to let me know that this evening, Monday 10 February 2020 there will be the monthly Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

The meeting is at the Bowling Green pub, Lichfield from 7:30pm and is of course open to anyone interested.

Dave wrote:

Lichfield Waterworks Trust December Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 10 February 2020 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
WS13 6QJ
Tel: 01543 257344
Everyone is welcome to this social event so please feel free to join us and be a part of an amazing community heritage restoration project.

Do remember, the Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

The trustees are due to meet with Persimmon on Tuesday 18 February 2020 to discuss the lease. The trustees will update the membership the outcome of this meeting in due course.

Important Note:

After the visit by Historic England on 16 Jan, the site has unfortunately been placed on the Heritage At Risk Register.

This is indeed sad news to see that this magnificent piece of industrial heritage is now officially at risk of permanent loss.
The trust is committed to continue working with the owner, Persimmon Homes Ltd to find a sustainable solution that will bring this building and its historic contents aback into a community use.

Tonight’s Talk

Tonight’s take is by our very own Peter Maddison:

Wrought Iron, Cast Iron and Steel: Materials of the Industrial Revolution.

It is an in depth a look at how the production of the 3 forms of iron developed roughly from the 17th century through to the start of the 20th, together with a comparison of their properties and examples of their use, including in beam engines.

As always this promises to be an engaging and interesting talk on a subject that everyone will enjoy.

Site Report

The team are back on site and in full swing mode. Progress on the renovation works is now in full swing with significant progress being made.

Just look at some of the before and after images of the office area.

Please feel free to pop in or lend a hand or just come a take a look around. We are open every Friday between 10:00am and 12:30 pm. Free tea and coffee.

Engineering Team Report

In early January cleaning work to the top of the cylinder was finished and the two half-covers were replaced. The only work to be completed on the cylinder-head floor is to finish the cleaning and lacquering of the teak lagging, and polishing of the brass bands, together with the cleaning of a small area of chequer plate flooring and general housekeeping. This work on this floor should then be completed.

Team members have been working on the water-return pump (which pumped cooling water from the condenser tank back to the adjacent canal) and the plug rod that operates it.

Download the full report here

Archive and Historical Research team Report

Document of the Month
February 2020

We are so fortunate in that South Staffs Water kept a very details and comprehensive archive of its activities and transactions.

This month’s document is indeed special. It is the specification for the Cornish engine by William Vawdrey.

William Vawdrey, second son of the late Rev. A. A. for many years Vicar of St. Agnes, Cornwall, was born at St. Day Vicarage on the 17th ‘of April 1840. When quite a youth he was sent as a student to Messrs. Harvey and Company’s Foundry at Hayle, where he remained seven years. He was then employed in erecting pumping- and winding-engines for Messrs. Eustace and Son and other owners.
In 1865, after passing the requisite examination, he entered the Royal Navy, but soon afterwards retiring from the service he was appointed assistant engineer to the South Staffordshire Waterworks under Mr. J. R.McClean

Two years later he assumed full charge of the works and remained with the company up to his death on the 2nd of January, 1895. During these 30 years of service Mr. Vawdrey proved himself a most able and energetic promoter of the company’s welfare.

  • At Lichfield he erected a 60-inch cylinder Cornish engine.

  • At Hednesford and Huntington, in the Cannock Chase District, he selected sites and sank two large wells, with extensive additional boreholes and heading, erecting the two 65-inch cylinder Cornish engines.

  • At Woodgreen and Wednesbury he put up two 65-inch Cornish engines.

  • At Fradley, near Lichfield, he sank a large well with a 12-inch borehole, and erected one horizontal compound engine made by Messrs. Hathorn, Davey and Company of Leeds.


We feel privileged here at Sandfields because it is one of the rare industrial building that still holds a comprehensive archive of materiel form the past. The archive record held at Sandfields Pumping Station is an invaluable record and a window to the day to day activity of operating a waterworks. Here we see evidence of working practices and skills, now lost.

If you hold an interest in history or are just curious about the past and want to learn more, then why not drop by for tea.

Health and Safety Report

We are pleased to say that we have had another accident free month. A very big thank you to everyone for embracing a heath and safety culture.

We never stand still with health and Safety, good safety is no accident.

We will be undertaking more training in the new year, so watch this space.

Electrical Installation Team Report

The electrical team are doing some sterling work. They have been incredibly busy removing damaged and water logged cables in readiness for the new installation. We are really pleased to announce that we will be working with both Dudley and Wolverhampton Technical College to provide on site training to students and an opportunity for students to work along side professionals.


3D Walkthrough

Dudley Technical College has been extremely kind in producing a 3D Walkthrough for the trust. This is an amazing piece of work that not only showcases the site, it also provides an opportunity to those who are unable to visit the site or climb the stairs

Please click on the image below


History West Midlands – Podcast

History West Midlands have produced a stunning podcast titled – Making Cholera History in the Black Country.

Presented by writer and broadcaster Graham Fisher and Directed by Andy Partington, featuring David Moore, the podcast gives a detailed history of both Sandfields pumping Station and the story of clean water.

Please click on the image below


With over 2,500 volunteer working hours, (equates to more than two full time equivalents) and over £14,000 spent in cleaning equipment, materials and scaffold over the last two years. This month has seen quite a drain on our bank balance with invoices for the viability study and scaffolding landing on the desk. Looking at the engine now, as opposed to how it looked in 2016, the volunteers have made some remarkable progress.

We will also always invest in our people and we are planning further training days soon. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here.
Any amount is helpful, is well appreciated and will be carefully spent preserving our industrial past for our future generations, developing skills for our people and making our community a better place
Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:
22 Walsall Road
WS13 8AB


We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.

Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community.
It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.

Do pop over to Dave Moore’s blog and check out the history of Sandfields Pumping Station, an almost forgotten gem – the group also has a Facebook page.

Dave is, of course, one of the leading lights of Lichfield Discovered, along with Kate ‘Cardigan’ Gomez from Lichfield Lore.

It’s great to see people like Dave encourage a better attitude to our historic buildings -please do attend if you’re able, it’s sure to be enlightening and educational.


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