Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye

Waterworks Museum Visit

The Victorian former water pumping station that now houses the main Waterworks Museum at Hereford.

The upward flow working waterwheel at the Waterworks Museum, with the Rotherwas Engine House in the background.

A GROUP of members, wives and guests from Kyrle Probus Club recently visited the Waterworks Museum at Hereford, the only working museum in the county.

Founded in 1974, in the Victorian water pumping station which served Hereford for 120 years, the Museum, which is run entirely by volunteers, traces the history of drinking water from very early times to the present day and how water has been brought to the people over the years.

The Museum houses a nationally important collection of pumping engines, one of the widest ranges of operating pumping engines in the UK, from early steam to electric power. Among the display of engines the Kyrle Probus group saw, were treasured items such as an 1851 Simpson Beam engine, the 1895 triple expansion steam engine, the oldest of its type still working and the Lancashire boiler which provided the steam for the triple expansion engine; a 1912 National Gas engine and a 1932 Tangye diesel engine.

The close-up view of the power provided by these working monsters is supported by wall displays that tell the history of water supplies in the county. They trace the progress from the first cave-dwellers at SymondsYat to the latest water-pumping and filtration systems in Hereford.

Among the displays, is the story of Ross’s water supply, which shows how John Kyrle was responsible for the first piped water supplies in the town. He set up a waterworks at The Dock – next to the Hope and Anchor – and water was pumped from a pool in the river Wye to a tank in The Prospect and from there, pumped around the town.

Also on site at the museum are examples of hot-air, wind and water power for driving the engines. The recently constructed Rotherwas Engine House contains the restored Blackstone diesel engine of 1939, which was essential to the fire-fighting capabilities of the munitions factory at Rotherwas. It forms the centrepiece of an exhibition of the people’s and Hereford’s role in World War II.

The visit to the waterworks was followed by an enjoyable, convivial lunch at Thruxton Court, near Allensmore


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