Machinery In Darlington, County Durham
A 19th century Victorian pumping station used to provide drinking water to the Darlington area.
In 1849, the first water works was built on the site, taking water out of the River Tees and treating it for drinking water for the people of Darlington. Then over 50 years later in 1904 the beam engine was installed which is still in place today.
A gas powered engine would follow in 1914, producing their own gas on site. however the demand increased beyond the gas and steam capabilities and electric pumps were added to help. The gas engine is still the largest historic working gas pump in Europe.
Water was brought out of the river and passed through reedbeds before being pumped round Darlington. Today the pumps still take water from the river but after the reed beds, it goes back to the river.
The site closed in 1980 with a new facility built across the road and since then, Northumberland Water have preserved the site with volunteers running it. Today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
We visited on a running weekend with dates shown on the Tees Cottage Pumping Station website. Admission is £5 for adults, free for under 16s and well behaved dogs welcome.
There is a small working blacksmith and miniature railway on the site too, alas we didn't have a ride on the train. Maybe next time.
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Head out of the car park and turn left to walk 100m along Coniscliffe Road.
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Park in the nearby Broken Scar Picnic site car park.
Contributed by Ashley Lightfoot
I love history, exploring churches, castles and ruins with my camera in tow. I am a member of English Heritage. Northumberland is my second home and any chance I get, I'm up there with my Dad, who volunteers with the national park, discovering a little something with a story behind it. The rest of my time, I'm just a simple greenkeeper!
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