• Engine Man's Walk

    New land use project starting at Claverton

    The Claverton Pumping Station Group wish to announce the start of an interesting new project adjacent to the Pump House. The reluctant conclusion has been made, that due to the very difficult ground conditions on the proposed car parking area, the project was impossible to continue with.  However, after some thought of what could be done with the land the group decided that after a little tiding of the existing parking space the rest of the land up to the tow path should be cleared of rubbish etc. and then a walk way made from the tow path at the far end down to the lower part of Ferry lane. Tree planting will take place and a few seats along the path will allow people to rest and take in the view. We are also planning to build some bug houses and install an owl box in one of the older trees.

    Walk

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  • Upgrade to the level crossing

    For many years all our publicity has included a warning that we are approached via an uncontrolled level crossing. Well, the bad news is that we will need to change all our publicity materials but we are happy about that as the fantastic news is that the crossing now has lights showing when it is safe to cross. In addition the car park fence has been tweaked allowing more room for cars to turn at the bottom of Ferry Lane.

    Crossing
    New crossing with lights showing when it is safe to cross

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  • Engine Man's Cottage

    An online campaign asked the Canal and River Trust to make the Engine man’s Cottage part of the Claverton Pumping Station museum rather than sell it. After a meeting the Canal and River Trust, Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, and Claverton Pumping Station Volunteers released the following statement:

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  • Claverton Pumping Station Operational After Four Years

    On Saturday the 5th November 2016, after 4 years of hard work, the Claverton pumping Station water wheel and pumps were operated for the first time since the recent restoration was completed.

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  • What we have done this year

    We know that many people are intrigued as to what we have been doing while the pump house has been closed to the public, so here is a summary of the work we have been doing over the last year.

    Tooth blank
    Tooth blank before and after cutting

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  • Call For Volunteers To Get Historic Pumping Station Ready For Action

    Volunteers are needed to get the historic pumping station at Claverton, near Bath, ready for action, as plans are revealed for new visitor facilities at the site.

    Mesh Check
    Pete Dunn inspecting the mesh of the new wooden teeth with the existing cast iron gear wheel

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  • New Band Saw

    We would like to thank the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust for the purchase of the band saw we we now have in place and working very well. This is an essential bit of kit for producing the new wooden tooth blanks, we will need 408 of these in total so it is a big job!

    New Saw
    The new saw in use

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  • Progress is Gathering Speed

    Progress on the water wheel overhaul gathered speed after the winter flooding which caused months of delay. The last piece of timber was fitted at the end of June.

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  • The Group Formally Adopt Claverton Pumping Station

    The first flood of this very wet winter came on the 16th December. A week later we washed out the deposited mud and then watched as the water came into the wheelhouse again on the same afternoon. Our highest flood of the winter (we hope) came on Christmas Eve, this was a couple of inches below the record height of what we call the modern flood levels, i.e. since the restoration. The water covered the Mezzanine floor. Since then a series of floods have been in and out of the building. We have washed out after each, the result has been that no progress for our restoration works have been made since December. On the second Saturday in February we threw in the towel and called off all works for a few weeks or until the weather improves.

    Adoption
    Mark Stephens presents the adoption certificate (©Robert Coles)

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  • John Rennie's Descendents Visit Claverton

    We played host to a Astronomy Group from the USA touring Britain in August. Among them was Ronald Rennie, a direct descendent of the K&A and Claverton’s original engineer, John Rennie. A visit to The pumping Station was slotted into their programme between Stonehenge and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy.

    Robert, John and Ronald Rennie
    (left to right) Robert, John and Ronald Rennie

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  • Fitting Timber to the Wheel

    We are gathering speed with the water wheel restoration now that the weather has dried up and the flooding finally receded. I would like to thank the team for their efforts during the winter cleaning up after each flood was becoming a chore.

    Planing timber sections for the waterwheel
    Planing timber sections for the waterwheel

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  • Happy 200th Birthday

    1813 - 2013

    On this day the 13th March 1813 it is recorded that the pumping machinery at Claverton Pumping Station was fully functional for the first time and being operated by Mr John Brown. It had cost the Kennet & Avon Canal Company a sum of £6,279 to install.

    200th birthday of the pumping station
    Celebrating the 200th birthday of the pumping station (© R. Coles)

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  • End of year floods and Christmas Meal

    The recent rains bought the river level up into the building, this is not uncommon during the winter, but it does mean maintenance on the lower levels gets put on hold until the water comes down and the silt that is deposited has been washed out, not just from the building but from all the machinery bearings.

    Flood mark
    Pete Dunn points to the flood tide mark while Brian Perrington starts the process of washing out the mud. Picture by Robert Coles

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  • Integration with the new Canal and River Trust

    The Claverton groups integration with the new Canal and Rivers Trust (C&RT) has moved a step further with the new charity taking on the insurances that we need. Our takings will now be paid directly to C&RT while Kennet and Avon Canal Enterprises will continue to run the shop.

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  • Limited opening due to restoration

    The big event so far this year has been the integration of our group into the B.W organisation. This has taken many hours of work but the results are now beginning to show, we have a good working relationship with B.W. safety and volunteering staff. The huge task of a complete renovation of the water wheel is well under way. The new timbers and other materials have arrived at the Pump House and other replacement materials, such as the wooden starts, which hold the wheel boards onto the wheel, are at Devizes waiting to be pre-machined by a B.W. contractor.

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  • Our relationship to British Waterways

    Claverton Pumping Station has always and still is owned by British Waterways, this is a fact that is sometimes misunderstood. There has been one occasion to my knowledge when the K&ACT were offered the freehold but unfortunately in my opinion we were not able to conclude the deal at the time, B.W has since decided that Claverton is not for sale. Since the completion of restoration in the late seventies we have operated and maintained this unique piece of our heritage under a 25 year license. This license has been expired for some years. I have been in continual negotiations to renew it or obtain a lease since then but due to the many reorganisation changes within B.W I have never been able to complete any deal. We now have Mark Stephens as the K&A`s manager who realised that the situation was far from satisfactory, it is Mark’s wish that Claverton remains part of his domain and that the best team to continue its operation and maintenance is the Claverton Pumping Station Group as it stands. We now have a deal in place whereby B.W are responsible for the funding of repairs and renewals and as recompense will receive the entrance fees. This has come at an opportune moment as we are just embarking on a one year project to completely replace the water wheel timbers.

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  • A new era for the pumphouse

    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.

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  • Sluice winding gear and Burbage Crane

    We had a difficult end to the season with a mechanical failure resulting in our last two runs being cancelled, but we stayed open and despite the lack of running we were moderately busy. The failure was the breakage of a gear tooth on the sluice winding gear at the end of a running day. We had some difficulty stopping the wheel but managed to raise the sluice safely and secure the water wheel. The next task was to remove the gear wheel from its shaft where it has sat for almost two hundred years. A replacement cast iron gear wheel has been ordered from a foundry in Bristol, the wheel should be ready by early November then it has to be weathered for some months before it can be fitted. It will be fitted in the spring just before Easter and if all goes well we should make our first run on Easter Sunday as planned.

    Jib lowered
    The jib is lowered onto the top of the frame (© Ian Herve)

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  • Burbage Crane and Other News

    Another major mile stone in the story of our reconstruction of the Burbage Crane has been reached. In July the cranes main frame was ready for road transport to the wharf, we had hoped to use water transportation but unfortunately this had proved impractical. On the evening of Friday the the team gathered at Claverton, our first task was to jack up the frame almost 700 mm which allowed room for George Eycott to reverse the Waterway Recovery Group’s 3.5 tonne trailer underneath. The frame was then lowered to the trailer bed and secured for its journey; all this was done during a very heavy rainstorm. We all stood back while George negotiated the railway crossing then began a slow journey to Burbage wharf arriving at 10.00pm.

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  • Pump Ready After Winter Maintenance

    The winter maintenance this year has proven to be a success. We removed the pumps piston and foot valve for replacement of the wooden valve seats. Our first runs over Easter and May Day weekends showed a big improvement in the efficiency of the priming and water delivery.

    Clearing the millpond
    Clearing the millpond

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  • Derrick Dudden 1934-2011

    Derrick trained as a Toolmaker and became an Inventive Engineer for Rolls Royce Bristol. His Interest in Canal Restoration began with the start of the Bath Locks project in 1967, and with Waterway Recovery Group also worked on many other canals around the country.

    The original restoration team
    The original restoration team, Derrick is centre rear

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  • News from January 2011

    The big news at Claverton is that after many years we have managed to purchase a piece of land that in due course will become a our car park. We own the land jointly with the Bathampton Angling Association, our costs were met by grants from the Medlock Trust and the D’Oyly Carte Opera. We have made a start on its construction by some scrub bashing and fencing work. Much more needs to be done but as we all know funds are a bit short at the moment so it will have to be a phased project.

    Scrub bashing
    Scrub bashing the new car park area

    The winter maintenance has progressed well after the cold weather in December, so far we have not had much flooding which helps, although as this is written in January hindsight may prove different.

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