The Archimedes Screw Pump at Crofton receives TLC from the experts
We have been reflecting on a challenging 2021 season. Visitors were welcomed back on 22 May, in line with government guidance, and thanks to our our amazing volunteers who worked flat out to create a safe environment for viewing the static engines and later for steaming days.
The 200 year old Boulton and Watt beam engine was put back into steam at the end of June (after an 18 month break) and the Crofton Beam Team provided a spectacle of steam at least once a month up to the end of September.
Work was carried out during the summer on an even older technology at Crofton – an Archimedes Screw pump, which was used to drain sections of the canal for maintenance work and operated by hand. The screw pump we have on site was recovered from the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hungerford in 1973 and arrived at Crofton in 2010.
Despite being protected from the worst of the elements by a custom-built shelter, the screw pump was showing signs of distress and had been used as a home by wildlife. It had started to decay, making it a candidate for professional conservation. A conservation report was commissioned by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust in 2019. This confirmed that the screw pump needed treatment to halt further deterioration.
The pandemic slowed progress, although the delay allowed time for fundraising and we gratefully acknowledge the support of grants from the Association of Independent Museums, The Pilgrim Trust and Wiltshire Community Foundation.
Thank you to Peter Meehan ACR, and his team from the Historic Metalwork Conservation Company who carried out the conservation work during August and September 2021. Peter also gave advice on future care and fitted fine mesh at both ends of the pump to keep out any further small visitors looking for a home. There were three public viewing sessions during the work. Great opportunities to see conservation of our industrial heritage at first hand, and to talk to the experts. A rare survivor of the early canal age has been preserved for future visitors to Crofton.
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