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Heritage Attraction Celebrates 50th Anniversary

From Disused Pumping Station to Thriving Heritage Attraction The Waterworks Museum Celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago, a group of heritage enthusiasts founded the Waterworks Museum at the Hereford Victorian Pumping Station, built to supply clean water for Herefordshire. Now a thriving Museum, it has one of the country’s widest collections of pumping engines, including early beam and hot-air machines.

The vision of founding member Stephen Southall with colleagues William Herbert Austin, Herbert Penhale and John Townsend was all about telling the story of water supply and preserving and  restoring machinery and engines for public enjoyment. The Victorian building has been restored and includes the original Worth Mackenzie steam engine which used to take water from the Wye and pump it to the adjacent treatments works.

The Museum first opened its doors in April 1975. Ever since, volunteers have been caring for the collection and welcoming visitors to this very special place.  The collection has grown to include additional water treatment exhibits and buildings and this tradition continues into 2024 with the inauguration and formal opening of two newly restored exhibits, the Sisson Engine Set and the Brockhampton Set.  

Throughout this 50-year period, the museum has been supported financially by two benefactors, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and the Southall Trust. The Museum is run entirely by volunteers and receives no public funding.

“What is astounding is the fact that this wonderful industrial heritage museum remains open and comes to life through its dedicated volunteers”. This was recognised in 2023 with the highest accolade for any volunteer community – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. I am enormously proud and grateful to the efforts, skills and passion of volunteers both past and present. “

Jill Phillips, Chair of Trustees & Governance Director
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On Sunday 26 May The Right Worshipful, The Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Kevin Tillett led the celebratory opening of the magnificent Victorian building and working engines. In the afternoon, Richard Curtis, former Museum Chairman, officially opened the Sisson Engine display. It was built in 1953 for Reading Technical College (now part of Reading University) to train students and apprentice engineers in the efficient use of steam power.

On 11 August visitors can celebrate the opening of the Brockhampton Set display. Volunteers will be getting engines working and up to steam for opening from 11am through to 4pm.

Visit the website to learn more