As the pandemic rules ease and the summer looks to draw to a gentle close Crofton Beam Engine ‘cranks up’ in more ways than one.
Across August and September there will be Children’s ‘Arts Award Explore’, Industrial Heritage Conservation and lots and lots of Steam.
There will even be a Virtual Open Day on Friday 10 September allowing you to visit the beam engines from wherever you are in the world. Crofton are taking part in Heritage Open Days.
Every September thousands of volunteers and venues organise free events to celebrate fantastic history and cultures. Heritage Open Days are a chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences. Booking details for the Free Virtual Open Day are on the Crofton website. You can sign up for a tour of the pumping station from the comfort of your own home, and also Zoom in for a talk featuring Crofton’s Cornish Connections.
On Monday 23 and Wednesday 25 August, between 10am and 2pm children between the ages of 7 and 11 are being invited to take part in Arts Award Explore. Places will need to be booked in advance and the cost per child will be £40 which will cover cover certification, moderation and arts resources.
To find out more or reserve places send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will also be a rare opportunity to see industrial conservation in action. Back in 1973 volunteers dragged an Archimedes Screw Pump, an ingenious form of pump from the days long before steam out of the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hungerford.
It arrived at Crofton during 2010 and has been on display in a custom-built shelter on site. However, time and the elements have taken their toll so Peter Meehan ACR, of the Historic Metalwork Conservation Company has been appointed to carry out conservation treatments. The Trust give their thanks to the Association of Independent Museums and the Wiltshire Community Foundation for their assistance in funding this work.
There will be three sessions over two days – 19 and 24 August – to provide an opportunity for visitors to speak to the experts and see conservation in action. Tickets are free, but pre-booking is essential. For more details, and to book, please visit the Crofton Beam Engines website.
There won’t be any access to the pumping station during these conservation viewings and there will be no catering on site. Entry to the site will be through the main gate (opposite the car-park) only.
Crofton Beam Engines plan to open every Saturday and Sunday until the end of September 2021. An adult admission to the pumping station costs £5 (£5.50 with Gift Aid) on a non-steaming day. Children (under 16) free. Tickets may be purchased on arrival for non-steaming days. The café is closed but visitors are welcome to picnic overlooking the canal and railway. The picnic area is not under cover. On non-steaming days entry to the grounds is free. The only access to the site is via the main gate opposite the carpark.
The September steaming will be the last opportunity of the season to see the 1812 Boulton and Watt beam engine perform the role it was designed for in the 19th century.
On days when the engine is fired up and in steam there is a charge for entry to the grounds. The admission charge includes entry to the pumping station for a self-led tour. Adult tickets £10.75 (£12 with Gift Aid). Accompanied children under 16 free. Advance purchase of timed tickets is recommended for steaming days and a pre-paid timed ticket will guarantee entry. Again, children under 16 are free but still need to have a booked timed ticket with their group to keep visitor numbers in line with current Government guidelines.
More information about ticket prices, and discounts for Kennet and Avon Canal Trust members/National Art Pass holders, can be found on the Crofton Beam Engines website or 01672 870300.
Unfortunately the café at Crofton Beam Engines is closed until further notice. Public access to the site is by the main gate only. There is no access from the lower canal entrance at lock 60. But Crofton is getting busier……