Historic pumping station saved with help of Groundwork North East & Cumbria

18 October 2016

Groundwork North East & Cumbria has secured a piece of history for future generations after helping to restore the Tees Cottage Pumping Station to its former glory.

Over the past 12 months, River Tees Rediscovered, a wing of the social enterprise supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, has worked with a team of more than 30 volunteers from Friends of Tees Cottage Pumping Station, Northumbrian Water and Darlington-based Cummins Engines, to restore the original pumps and boilers at the Victorian waterworks back to working order.

From 1849, Tees Cottage Pumping Station transformed the way the water supply in Darlington and Teesside was delivered, offering safe drinking water to inhabitants who had previously used wells, rainwater tubs and hand pumps such as the one Darlington’s Tubwell Row is named after.

The engines at the pump station pumped water from the River Tees, which was then filtered before being pumped throughout the town. During the restoration the volunteers hit several stumbling blocks, including asbestos contamination and corroded machinery.

As the Coniscliffe Road station is one of the few locations to contain its original electric and gas water pumps, along with the original steam-powered beam pumps, it is considered to be a historical site of European significance.

Tom Watson, Partnership Manager for the River Tees Rediscovered Partnership, hopes that eventually the site will become self-sufficient. He said: “The aim of the project is to secure this little-known piece of Darlington history and open it up for the public to enjoy.

“The Tees Cottage Pump House is a fantastic resource for the area and the fact that most people I’ve spoken with didn’t even know it was here is very sad. We hope to make it a self-sustainable museum over the next couple of years.
“We’re extremely grateful to Cummins Engines and all the volunteers who lent us their time and expertise. This project would have taken a lot longer and would have been significantly more difficult without them.

“The site is now open for the people of the region to come and learn about this piece of local heritage.”

Tim Hamilton, Technical Specialist Product Engineering at Cummins Engines, said: “This is the only site in the UK with a beam, gas and electric engine altogether in one place. It is fantastic that this site been preserved by local volunteers and is already attracting lots of attention from the public.

“This project has huge potential and we are happy to have been involved in such an interesting project at such an early stage – we will continue to support the development of this site into a fully functional museum and a key tourist attraction for Darlington over the coming years.”

CONTACT: Joss Havakin on 01325 363436

Groundwork NE & Cumbria is a social enterprise/charity dedicated to improving the lives of people across the North of England.
This includes:
• Helping people to retrain, gain confidence and gain valuable work experience.
• Take practical action to tackle climate change – it recognises that by doing so it can also reduce fuel poverty and help business be more efficient
• Groundwork NE & Cumbria owns, manages, rents and leases buildings and land in every part of the North of England
• Enhancing the places where people live, work and play.
Groundwork NE & Cumbria covers the whole of North East and Cumbria and has bases in Bishop Auckland; Sedgefield; Cockermouth; Darlington; Easington Village; Gateshead; Annfield Plain; Lobley Hill, Gateshead; Middlesbrough; Morpeth; Stockton, Sunderland, and Ulverston; and employment offices in Bishop Auckland; Carlisle; Darlington; Durham; Newton Aycliffe; Redcar and Workington.
For more information log on to http://www.groundwork.org.uk/sites/northeast

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