£559,300 National Lottery grant helps secure future for Crofton Beam Engines
The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust has been awarded more than half-a-million pounds by the National Lottery's Heritage Lottery Fund as the major contribution toward a £845,000 project to secure the future of the steam driven Crofton Beam Engines near Marlborough.
The Crofton Beam Engines, set in beautiful countryside beside the canal, are one of the area's prime tourist attractions - and an ideal place to introduce young people to practical engineering and its history.
The £559,300 grant - made possible by National Lottery players - will transform the site and enable the Trust to tell Our Crofton Story explaining the industrial heritage and describing the people and the machines that made building of the Kennet & Avon Canal possible.
The project includes essential restoration and conservation work on the Grade I Listed engines and the buildings which house them. Plans include improvements to visitor facilities, new interpretation of its engineering and social history, and new activities for families. The aim of these plans is to put visitors at the heart of the Crofton story.
This National Lottery award comes following several years of hard work by the volunteer team responsible for submitting the bid. It starts a new phase in the life of Crofton where we will be able to secure this historic site for future generations especially by attracting more volunteers.
Peter Turvey, Chair of the Crofton Branch of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, describes Crofton as '...an amazing survivor of the Industrial revolution, a stark contrast to its contemporary world of Regency country houses and Jane Austen novels': "It is set in a living heritage landscape which has seen the rise, fall and regeneration of England’s canal system."
"With this grant from the National Lottery we will be able to sustain the legacy of 50 years work by all our heroic volunteers, and ensure future generations can experience the beating heart and steamy breath of the industrial Revolution.”
As well as this major funding from the National Lottery, the project is supported by generous grants from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Manifold Charitable Trust, the Tanner Trust, the Saddlers' Company, the Wolfson Foundation, the Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, the Charles Hayward Foundation & the Bruce Trust.
Crofton has just finished its 2017 season and the site is now closed for the works to begin over the winter in readiness for reopening at Easter 2018. The team at Crofton plan to hold open days during the winter when visitors can see the work in progress and hear more about plans for the rest of the project. Details will be on their website.
Crofton Beam Engines are on the north side of the Kennet and Avon Canal near to its highest point. Crofton is home to two magnificent steam driven beam engines one of which can claim to be the oldest in the world still in its original location and doing the job it was installed for in 1812 - lifting water to the highest point on the Canal.