Connaught Road Pumping Station from Constable's Road, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on December 22, 2009

This view of the old Dover Waterworks' pumping station on Connaught Road was taken from Constable's Road, the pedestrian entrance for visitors to Dover Castle (an English Heritage site).

Extracted from a Geograph webpage, written in 2006:

The tall building on the left consists of a front part and a slightly narrower rear part (look at the roof area) which once housed two triple expansion steam pumping engines (see under Multiple expansion engines).

The rear part of the building still houses a somewhat rusty example, commissioned in 1939, while the front part once contained an engine commissioned in 1954, making it the last steam pumping engine commissioned in England. This engine is now at the Forncett Industrial Steam Museum in Norfolk*

In addition to the pumping station, the other reason for taking this photograph is the thin layer of snow on Constable's Road in the foreground - and three days before the Winter Solstice, too! (in recent decades snow has been rather a rare event).

Constable's Road (so named because it leads to Dover Castle's Constable`s Gate**, out of view to the left) goes down to the right and then turns abruptly to meet Castle Hill Road which lies below, and parallel to, the wall in the photo.

Connaught Road, visible near the top right-hand corner of the photo, meets Castle Hill Road a few yards further uphill from the Constable Road junction, but before it does so, however, there are entrances on either side to the Zig Zaga Park and the South Gate of Connaught Park.

*Further notes from the The Dover Engine webpage states:

Worthington Simpson (Newark) No 5056 was built in 1937 with sister engine No 5055. However, this engine laid boxed up at Worthington Simpson's works in Newark, Nottingham, during the war years and it was not until 1954 that 5056 was built and commissioned in service at the Connaught Road Pumping Station, Dover, where 5055 had been working since 1939.

The substantial labour costs associated with steam pumping of water meant that despite being virtually unworn, the engines commercial lives were over in the early 1970's and following negotiations which resulted in the engine being purchased on the 'never never' dismantling commenced in 1977, the waterworks staff being displaced by modern technology working their notice on this task.

The relocation, preservation and ongoing restoration of this massive engine - the last reciprocating waterworks steam pumping engine of any notable size to be erected for public waterworks service in the UK, represents the absolute zenith of private preservation efforts, many groups have been formed (and some have failed) to preserve large waterworks engines in situ, few individuals have attempted - almost single handed in the early years - to remove - some 85 tons of engine, being transported on about thirty lorry loads - and rebuild such a massive engine on a different site but this is exactly what Dr Francis commenced on in 1977.

The Worthington Simpson foreman erector John Graveny. although due to retire, was kept on by Worthingtons (who also sponsored a number of other aspects of this preservation project on their last 'big' engine and still maintain a keen interest in it and the Museum's progress) to supervise dismantling and rebuilding of the engine - this was a job he knew well being the third time he had built the engine (once for initial build and test at Newark, once on site in Dover and finally at Forncett)

**Also known as Constable's Gateway, or Constable's Tower; the other entrance to Dover Castle is Canons Gate.

John Latter / Jorolat

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 19, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/12/18 12:14:54
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash