Lichfield Waterworks Trust March 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 9th March 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 March Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 9 March 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 met with Persimmon Homes Ltd on Tuesday 18 February. Our initial assessment of the meeting is, Persimmon have offered us a 50-year lease at £1.00 per year with a 5-year break clause.

This is a much more advantageous to LWT than we expected. The only really grey area is around the repair and maintenance point, which we can negotiate/argue about a bit further down the line.

The trustees will meet on Monday 9 March 2020 to discuss, and hopefully we maybe in a position to agree heads of terms. While we believe this is good news, it is important to understand that the building is in quite a poor state of repair and the trust will need to raise a considerable sum of money and considerable effort to bring the building back into reuse.

Saying that, we have a great team of people working on this project who are willing to go that extra mile.

 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 talk is by a long-standing supporter and advisor to our project, Dr Jim Andrew. Jim is an incredibly knowledgeable individual on a wide variety of subjects Tonight he will be asking us ‘Could we learn something from the Victorians?’

The Great Exhibition of 1851 was housed in the Crystal Palace, a temporary building in London’s Hyde Park, yet this was probably the largest single build construction the world had ever seen.  It was 19 acres with an 8-acre mezzanine housing some 100,000 exhibits, half from the UK and half from the rest of the world.  The building was only finalised in July 1850, but it still opened on 1st May 1851. No computers or telephones on emails so how did they do it?  Could we learn something from the Victorians?

Site Report

The team are on site and in full swing mode. The office is now with the exception of rewiring, complete. The folks have done a splendid job. Walls and ceiling have been redecorated, the floors have been cleaned and oiled. The cold-water tank has been removed and the floor made good.
The room is looking clean, light and fresh. A perfect meeting room that will be a benefit to all.

Please do feel free to join us and be a part of an amazing community heritage restoration project.

The site is open for normal working on Friday’s between 10:30am and 12:30pm. As always you are most welcome to join us. Free tea and coffee is always available.

Engineering Team Report

Work to clean and lubricate the metalwork parts in the cataract chamber (this is the chamber immediately beneath the engine controls) is almost complete, and steelguard rust preventative has been liberally applied. The strategy has been to clean the metal parts of rust, but not to finish them to the standard adopted for the more visible parts of the engine, as this will take a long and it is more important that the parts are protected from corrosion and deterioration than to look “shiny”. The initial results from adopting this strategy have shown pleasing results.

Team members have been working on the water-return pump (which returned cooling water from the condenser tank to the adjacent canal), in an attempt to “free-up” as many elements of the engine before we attempt to move it again. The cover on the pump was seized solid with corrosion. A gas torch was used to heat the cylinder body and with some “gentle” persuasion by driving wedges around the rim of the pump body we were able to break the bond and lift the cover clear.

Not surprisingly the pump was full of water, which we syphoned out. The internal bore of the pump body was badly corroded. After cleaning out lumps of corroded cast iron and other debris we were able to expose the upper face of the piston, complete with valve…

Download the full report here

Health and Safety Report

Unfortunately, we had our first incident in three years working on site; a cut hand. While this was a minor cut, it goes to show that accidents can and do happen.

We have met with the team members and had an honest and frank discussion about this incident. We are delighted to say that the teams have come up with a number of great suggestions that will help us improve and make good safety no accident.

A very big thank you to everyone for embracing a heath and safety culture. We will be undertaking more training in the new year, so watch this space.

Electrical Installation Team Report

The electrical team are continuing doing some sterling work. We have now recommissioned the lighting in the 1870 building and have some temporary lighting in the 1960s building.

This was a tremendous help for Victorian Lichfield event.
The team continues to remove redundant and waterlogged damage wiring and is making preparations to install new submains in both buildings.

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


Now that we find ourselves in a position where we feel we can enter into a lease agreement; we need to raise £5,000 to put the building to work to earn its keep. We have several ideas and events either booked or planned.

Despite the best efforts of the teams, the condition of the building is still poor and not the most user-friendly place. The one thing holding us back is funds to buy materials and some specialist works.

We need to install sub-mains in both the 1960 and 1870 buildings. Works needs to be done to the floors in the 1960s building to remove s the trip hazards and make the wells safe.

We need to make and adapt the steel tables to make a stage for events. We have people willing to do this work, but we need to buy materials.

Therefore, if you can donate, please visit our donation page here.

100% of what you give goes into the restoration fund. This is a most exciting heritage project that will bring a benefit to the whole community. Heritage restoration project like this build new skills, engage with the community, bridge inter-age gaps, enable people to make new friends and improve health and wellbeing.

We have no paid staff; all of our volunteers are priceless.

We will also always invest in our people and have a volunteer training away day on the 27 March.

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


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. 


Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in our community.

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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