Crofton pumping station to re-open on Friday, August 19
Good news for one of the Marlborough area’s most popular tourist attractions: Crofton pumping station on the Kennet and Avon Canal near East Grafton is to re-open to visitors on Friday, August 19.
The station had to close to the public soon after its very successful ‘in steam’ weekend at the end of July. It was discovered that the domestic water supply from a deep borehole to the station (including its café), the two adjacent cottages and to passing canal traffic was contaminated.
Initially, the range of refreshments available in Crofton’s popular café may be limited.
Crofton houses the world’s oldest working beam engine – a Boulton and Watt engine installed in 1812. Alongside it is a second ‘younger’ beam engine made by Harvey & Co installed relatively recently – in 1846.
The station started work in 1809 pumping water up to the canal’s highest level – the section between Crofton and Burbage which was above any reliable local water source.
Crofton’s engines will be in steam over the August Bank Holiday weekend - August 27, 28 and 29. If you stay around long enough when you visit Crofton on those days you will see both engines working at the same time – a dramatic sight and a dramatic noise. The beam of the older engine weighs six tons; that of the more sophisticated Harvey engine weighs four and a half tons. They pack an awesome punch.