Extensive structural and improvement works have now been completed at Eastney Pumping Station as doors once again open to the public. Portsmouth City Council's Building Projects team, working with Culture and Leisure, completed the works between June and December 2019.
Eastney Pumping Station was the first sewage pumping station in Portsmouth comprising a number of buildings. Dating from between 1868 and 1905, the buildings were used to pump sewage and storm water out of the city.
The station has since been replaced by more modern and efficient technology. More recently the station has been converted into an industrial museum.
General works to improve health and safety standards within the Beam Engine house were completed with special care being taken to preserve original features including internal and external decoration.
Pedestrian barriers and railing infill panels were fitted, as well as the refurbishment of the basement. Corroded walkways and steel joists were replaced whilst new efficient lighting was fitted to provide better visibility in low light areas.
Steel window refurbishments were completed on a number of the large Victorian windows inside the building with modest redecoration to walls and ceilings, again adhering to original colour schemes and styles.
Speaking about the complete works, Councillor Steve Pitt, the Council's Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development said:
"Eastney Pumping Station is a fantastic example of Portsmouth's rich and engaging history, still visible to this day."
"It is the council's duty to ensure the pumping station, along with other historic sites across the city remain safe for visitors and maintained to a high level."
"I would implore residents to pay a visit to this hidden gem and view a remarkable bit of preserved Victorian engineering."
The former pumping station contains a pair of original Boulton & Watt beam engines and pumps restored to their original 1887 condition.
As Portsmouth is a low-lying island with poor natural drainage, in the 1800's sewage and waste often polluted the water supply. A new drainage system was introduced in 1868 using gravity to move sewage across Portsea Island to Eastney, from where it was pumped out to sea.
Portsmouth City Council now maintains the historic site which sees hundreds of visitors every year and is one of the most important cultural and historical sites in the city.
The site is open to the public with free admission on the last weekend of each month. For more information on the pumping station and beam engines visit the Portsmouth Museums website.