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Red Wheel plaque unveiled at historic pumping station

Peter Stone and Phil HardingPeter Stone and Phil HardingThe importance of Crofton Beam Engines in the story of the nation’s industrial past was celebrated on Saturday with the unveiling of a Red Wheel plaque from the Transport Trust.

The plaque – mounted on the wall of the boiler house – was unveiled by Peter Stone, of the Transport Trust, aided by archaeologist Phil Harding of TV’s Time Team.

The red wheel scheme – much like its blue plaque cousin – aims to promote significant heritage sites from Britain’s transport history. Launched in 2009, there are now more than 80 locations with a red wheel plaque.

It read: “Crofton Pumping Station 1807 House the oldest beam engine in the world able to fulfil its original role – pumping water to the summit of the Kennet and Avon Canal.”

Peter Turvey, chairman of the Crofton Branch of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, said: “Crofton Pumping Station is one of the most important industrial revolution sites in the country.

“Built to supply water to the summit level of the Kennet & Avon Canal, the pumping station is a unique working survivor of the technology which enabled British engineers to drain deep mines, supply water to canals and towns, and build docks and harbours throughout the world.

“For nearly 50 years the Crofton Beam Engines have been kept in working order by teams of dedicated volunteers and the skills needed to run it passed on to new generations. Long may it continue.”

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