Crofton Beam Engines are pleased to be part of the National Heritage Open Days again this year from Friday the 11th September to Sunday 13th September, please see opening times below. The scheme is set up to encourage visitors who might otherwise not visit heritage sites, with the opportunity to visit for free and in doing so learn about the rich history of these amazing places.
Entry to the site and Engine House is free. Entry to the Engine House is via self-guided tours in time slots with limited number to ensure social distancing. Visitors book onto a timeslot on entry to the site.
Opening dates and times:
Friday 11th September 10:30am – 3:30pm
Saturday 12th September 10:00am – 3:30pm
Saturday 13th September 10:00am – 3:30pm
Unfortunately the Engineman’s Rest café remains closed for 2020, however we are encouraging visitors to picnic onsite using our picnic tables. The public toilets will also be open. Please visit our website for information on our timeslot entry system and general visitor information (https://www.croftonbeamengines.org/). Please also be aware the engines will not be in steam for 2020.
Crofton Pumping Station is one of the most significant industrial heritage sites in the United Kingdom and a fascinating visitor attraction that invites you to step into our industrial and social history and turn back the clock to a time when steam was king. The station was built in 1807-9 to supply water to the highest point of the Kennet & Avon Canal which links London and Bristol. It is a rare survivor of the technology which enabled British engineers to drain mines and supply towns and cities with water throughout the world, and has recently undergone National Lottery Heritage Fund supported conservation and visitor facility improvement work.
Rebuilt and modernised several times during its long working life, one of the two original engines survives and ran until 1958 despite the canal becoming derelict after WWII, as water was still needed for farm and railway locomotive supply. The 1812 Boulton & Watt steam powered beam engine is the oldest working beam engine in the world that is still in its original location and capable of performing the task for which it was installed. The survival and subsequent restoration of the canal is one of the triumphs of the Volunteer Preservation movement, spearheaded by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. The Trust bought the redundant pumping station for preservation in 1968, at a time when England’s Industrial Heritage was fast disappearing, and by 1971 both engines had been restored to full working order. Since then they have been regularly demonstrated to the public by enthusiastic volunteers, as they are to this day.