Ryhope Pumping Station
Located in Ryhope, Sunderland England
Photo © 2006 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Ryhope Pumping Station History
Up in Sunderland, England is what some call one of the finest monuments to Victorian engineering ability in the North East. Designed by Thomas Hawksley, the station used two beam engines to pump water from deep wells underneath the ground to distribute as drinking water; an important movement in sanitation after many disease outbreaks occurred from contaminated surface water. The Sunderland and South Shields Water Company built the station in 1869 for over £58,000.
The proximity to the North Sea and a dropping water table, in conjunction to other, cheaper pumping stations operating nearby, forced the Ryhope station to cease operations in 1967 - almost 100 years of continuous use. The building is now operating as a museum on bank holiday weekends, and on certain days of the year the engines are still run (even though water isn't pumped); a testament to the long lasting engineering skills of years past. Visit the Ryhope Engines Museum for more history, technical data, and "steam days" when the engines are fired up.