KEMPTON GREAT ENGINES TRUST
Kempton Pumping station
"COME AND SEE THE WORLD'S LARGEST WORKING STEAM ENGINE!!"|
... said the advert...
...and so we did. Having passed and repassed that remarkable building (which despite being overshadowed by a modern motorway flyover still remains quietly impressive), a monument to a recent past when even buildings housing functioning machines were designed to be pleasing to the eye.
To reach the Pumping Station you have to follow a circuitous route off the Chertsey Road (A316 to modern folks) round past Jobs Dairy with cows leering at you from the roof, along Feltham Hill Road towards Staines Rugby Club (or Adrian Hall's Garden Centre, if you prefer) and then left along a small lane,passing through an automatic gate and under the A316 where you can park your car. The grandeur of the columns and doorways of the building prepares you gradually for what awaits you inside, and you enter the immense hall with excitement and expectation.|
|And you are not disappointed - there, towering above you, is the massive "Sir William Prescott", the world's largest fully operational Triple Expansion Steam Engine in all its grandeur. Designed in the early part of the century to pump millions of gallons of fresh water into London daily, it is a triumphant example of the engineer's art. Even now, once it has been started, this beautifully balnced engineering wonder produces barely a tremor as it rumbles along in state. Overtaken now by modern science, it can still make you hold your breath in wonder.|
Saturday 12th and
at the modest price of £5 for Adults and £2.50 for children.
The Kempton Steam website itself is well worth a visit: it is most elegant, and contains much more information, including a detailed description of the engines, the power supply (coal) and how it arrived at the station.