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Members Story’s - Steam Club Visit to Brede Giants Of Steam

"Brede Steam Giants"

On Saturday 5th March a group of members visited the Brede Pumping Station which is located in the beautiful Brede Valley near Rye, on a visit organised by the club and free to members.

Most of the members travelled to the Waterworks from Tinkers Park in Peter Haining's AEC RF Bus, whilst other members met at the museum. 

The Society was formed in 1994 with the purpose of restoring the triple expansion steam pumping engines that remained on the Brede site. Two Tangye engines with their ram pumps and well pumps were installed as part of the original Waterworks concept in 1904. They were joined in 1940 by a third pump manufactured by Worthington Simpson as part of the Darwell Reservoir Project and all three units operated until the end of steam in 1964. Sadly one of the original Tangye pumps was broken up in 1969 but it is very fortunate that the two other engines remain largely intact.

Over the years other examples of water pumping engines have been saved and brought to Brede for restoration and display. Acting as a non-profit-making company and a registered charity, the Society’s aims are to restore and operate heritage water pumping artefacts from the water industry and to educate the public in the technologies associated with the water pumps and the role they play in bringing safe drinking water to the home.

Club members were given a guided tour around the museum, all the engines were in operation, unfortunately they are not able to steam the engines as the boilers have been cut up, the engines are demonstrated on compressed air on open days.

An additional exhibit is a nuclear bunker, built for the workers at the height of the cold war the bunker was built in readiness for the USSR dropping "the bomb", the waterworks employees could then survive until it was safe to restore water to the towns - that at least was the theory; thankfully this was never needed to be put into practice!