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Maple Brook Pumping Station

A Grade II Listed Building in Burntwood, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.6948 / 52°41'41"N

Longitude: -1.9114 / 1°54'40"W

OS Eastings: 406085

OS Northings: 310795

OS Grid: SK060107

Mapcode National: GBR 3C6.3KS

Mapcode Global: WHBFH.MJ1F

Entry Name: Maple Brook Pumping Station

Listing Date: 19 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1421319

Location: Burntwood, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS7

County: Staffordshire

District: Lichfield

Civil Parish: Burntwood

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Burntwood Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Water pumping station of 1912-1915, built for the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, with late-C20 and early-C21 alterations and additions. It was designed by H Ashton Hill, the company engineer, and constructed by Messrs B Whitehouse and Sons of Birmingham.


Water pumping station of 1912-15, built for the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, with late-C20 and early-C21 alterations and additions. It was designed by H Ashton Hill, the company engineer, and constructed by Messrs B Whitehouse and Sons of Birmingham.

MATERIALS: of red brick with cast stone dressings and slate roofs with glazed lantern lights.

PLAN: the engine house is square-on-plan with a rectangular-on-plan boiler house at the rear. A former workshop (now electricity substation) and a late-C20 oil store are attached to the rear of the boiler house.

EXTERIOR: of three bays on each side, the engine house has a tall single storey over a basement. It has a chamfered plinth and corner pilasters connected by a dentil frieze. Each pilaster has a projecting top section with brick corbelling and a dentil cornice running between them. Above is a stone-coped parapet with raised corners and central sections topped with ball finials. Concealed behind the parapet is a hipped roof of slate with a flat central section with a glazed lantern light. To the principal elevation, which faces north-west, there is a central doorway accessed by a left-turn flight of stone steps. The doorway has a bolection surround, flat canopy, early-C21 double doors and a rectangular fanlight with radial glazing bars. A central date panel above the doorway is inscribed 'S.S.W.W. / 1913'. Flanking the doorway are tall, rectangular, metal-framed windows with small-paned glazing bars and moulded sills and chamfered lintels of cast stone. To the basement there are two bricked-up window openings with cast stone lintels directly beneath the first-floor windows. The returns have an identical fenestration pattern, again with bricked-up basement window openings. Attached to the rear, with a lower roofline, is the former boiler house which has a similar articulation. Its north-west face has a late-C20 central doorway flanked by bricked-up doorways and bricked-up window openings whilst its south-west elevation has two, small, square, metal-framed windows with small-paned glazing bars. Its hipped roof of slate is concealed behind a stone-coped parapet and has a glazed lantern light running the full length of the ridge. Attached to the right-hand side of its north-west elevation, which is formed of four recessed panels with dentilled heads, is a former workshop and oil store. Now an electricity substation, it has a chamfered plinth, terracotta cornice and a stone-coped parapet. Its north-east side has a doorway and a bricked-up window opening whilst its south-east face has a doorway and two bricked-up window openings. Adjoining the left-hand side of the boiler house is a late-C20 oil store of brick with a bituminous felt roof. All the window openings to the rear ranges have cast stone sills and lintels whilst the doorways also have cast stone lintels.

INTERIOR: the engine house retains an inverted triple expanding, surface condensing, rotative steam engine of 1915 by Galloways Ltd of Manchester. Standing against the south-east wall is an inverted duplex enclosed engine which was installed in 1915 by Bumsted and Chandler of Hednesford to drive the 5kw dynamo for the station's lights. An overhead gantry crane by Richard C Gibbins and Co of Birmingham is supported by side pilasters. On the north-east side there are two electric pumps and a motor control centre, all of early-C21 date. In the basement there are the original force pumps (plunger type) and an Edwards air pump, all installed in 1915. The boiler house, now devoid of its boilers, has a mezzanine level and has been partly subdivided with late-C20 blockwork walls to create ancillary office accommodation and a toilet block. Both the engine house and boiler house have metal-framed, braced rafter roofs.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the early-C21 electric pumps and motor control centre in the pump house, alongwith its associated pipework, and the late-C20 blockwork walling in the boiler house are not of special architectural or historic interest.


Maple Brook Pumping Station, built by the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, was the last of the work allowed for by the 1901 South Staffordshire Water Order. It was designed by H Ashton Hill, the company engineer, and built between 1912-1915 by B. Whitehouse and Sons of Birmingham. In 1915, an inverted vertical triple expansion steam engine, named ‘H Ashton Hill’, was installed by Galloways Ltd of Manchester. It drew its water supply from borehole Nos. 1 and 2 which were sunk in 1909 to a depth of 670ft (204m) by AC Potter and Co of London. In 1922, a second, identical engine, named ‘H K Beale’ after the company chairman, was installed by Glenfield and Kennedy of Kilmarnock. Its water supply came from an additional two boreholes (Nos. 3 and 4) which were sunk between 1919-1922 to a depth of 633ft (193m), again by AC Potter and Co. Each engine drove two borehole pumps which delivered ground water to a suction tank in the station grounds. From here, water was pumped into the main supply by three ram pumps. Steam was initially produced by two Lancashire boilers, later increased to three. They were manufactured by Galloways Ltd and fitted with Sugden's superheaters and the necessary dampers and valves so that either saturated or superheated steam could be used. Adjoining the boiler house was a workshop and store for oils and spare parts.

In 1972, Maple Brook was the last of the Company’s steam-driven pumping stations to be electrified, with the ‘H.K. Beale’ engine being dismantled and removed whilst the ‘H Ashton Hill’ engine was preserved in situ. Prior to the engines being shut down, four seven-stage Sultzer borehole pumps driven by Hayward Tyler electric motors were installed, along with two Sulzer vertical four-stage booster pumps. At the same time the boilers were removed from the boiler house and its chimney demolished. The former workshop and oil store were converted into an electrical substation and a new oil store was also added.

The pumping station underwent a programme of refurbishment between October 2012 and May 2013, including the sinking of two new boreholes (Nos. 5 and 6), to replace boreholes Nos. 2 and 3 which had to be abandoned due to their poor condition. Two new electric pumps and booster pump motors were also installed, along with a motor control centre for power distribution.

Reasons for Listing

Maple Brook Pumping Station, built in 1912-1915 for the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, with late-C20 and early-C21 alterations and additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Engineering interest: it retains an inverted triple expansion, surface condensing, rotative steam engine of 1915, which survives substantially intact and unaltered;

* Rarity: it is only one of nine pumping stations in England to retain original triple expansion steam engines in situ, with only 12 engines surviving nationally in a waterworks context;

* Architectural interest: its neo-classical style is well realised, reflecting the high value placed on its important civic function.

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