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Bedfordwell Pumping Station in Eastbourne, East Sussex

Today I visited Bedfordwell Pumping Station in Eastbourne and I couldn’t get over how photogenic the building was.

This really is a little gem that will soon be gone.

Here is some history I found online..

Bedfordwell Pumping Station, comprising an engine house and adjacent boiler house, was designed by Henry Currey, architect for The Duke of Devonshire’s estate for the Eastbourne Waterworks Company Ltd., a company which had been founded in 1859 by the 7th Duke of Devonshire. The engineer was George A. Wallis, who was elected Mayor of Eastbourne in 1883, the year the pumping station was officially opened. Building commenced in 1881, the foundation stone on the south side of the building was laid by Henry Currey’s daughter Ada, and pumping started in 1883. The pumping station’s inauguration was attended by the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra and the two huge rotary pumping engines were christened in honour of their visit, the larger one ‘The Prince’ and the smaller one ‘The Princess’. The beam engines were designed to pump five million gallons of water every 24 hours from an oval well. There were two Cornish type boilers and an 150 feet high chimneystack. Part of the boiler house originally carried a siding from the railway line running immediately beside it to deliver coal directly to the site.

The buildings do not appear on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1880 or the Second Edition map of 1899, although the adjoining area is labelled Eastbourne Waterworks (Pumping Station). The outline of the building is shown for the first time on the Third Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1910.

Unfortunately the working life of the pumping station only lasted until 1895 because the well was only about 40 feet deep and became contaminated. In 1923 the site was sold for use as a council depot and the interior was altered to house workshop machinery on two floors. One or both beam engines were removed to Friston Pumping Station (near Eastbourne) and electric pumps were installed at Friston in due course, but a Bedfordwell beam engine was reported to still exist there in 2012. After 1923 a number of council offices were built along the western boundary of the site which do not appear on the 1910 map but are shown on the Fourth Edition map of 1930. On the Fourth Edition map the site is labelled Corporation Depot. The boiler chimneystack was removed at some later date and the lodge and some later buildings on the site, erected after 1923, were demolished in 2012.


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