The first day of January 2012 marks the beginning of a new era at Claverton Pumping Station. Mark Stephens (British Waterways), Mike Rodd (Chairman of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Council), and Peter Dunn (Chairman of the Claverton Branch of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust) have forged the way forward for the maintenance and the continued running of the unique and historical water wheel powered pumping station at Claverton.
The site was designed and built by Rennie in 1813 and it was pumping water to the canal until 1952, after which it fell into disuse. In 1968, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (K&ACT) commenced restoration of the wheel, with a group of students from Bath University. The restoration was completed in 1978. Since then the site has been managed by the K&ACT. After 30 years, the water wheel now needs a complete refurbishment. British Waterways (BW) and the K&ACT have formed a partnership whereby BW will manage the building and the unique machinery, and the K&ACT will provide the expertise and volunteers to preserve and maintain this priceless piece of Britain’s engineering and canal heritage. K&ACT’s operating company, Enterprise Ltd, will continue to operate and develop further, the shop/café.
Once the water wheel has been refurbished the Pumping Station will be fully operational again. The ultimate aim is to pump water to the canal in 2013 when the machinery will be 200 years old. This should reduce the cost of expensive pumping water by electricity using the green energy supplied by Rennie’s masterpiece.
During this year restoration works Claverton will be open to the public on the normal open days and the progress and processes of the restoration work will be on view.