CIE Visit Tees Cottage Pumping Station

Cleveland Institution of Engineers
7 Oct 2018
Tees Cottage Pumping Station

On Friday 5th October, the CIE visited Tees Cottage Pumping Station, a Victorian waterworks first opened in 1849 in Darlington.  All the facilities were working, actually pumping water, in preparation for the open weekend the following 2 days.  Most impressive is the two-cylinder compound steam beam engine, built in 1904, driving its original pumps.  The beam alone weighs 25 tons, and no photograph can convey the majesty of this beam pivoting smoothly on its axis transferring motion from the valve chest, itself a work of art, to the pumps.  The beam is supported on a cast iron column, with typical Victorian embellishments.  Steam is supplied by one of two Lancashire steam boilers, built by Teasedale Brothers in 1902.

The other engine is a two-cylinder gas engine, built in 1914 to increase pumping capacity, the largest preserved example in Europe, also driving its original pumps.  The Science Museum in London consider this to be the most important feature on the site.  In contrast to the serenity of the steam driven beam engine, this is a very noisy machine, when running.  It is linked by a belt drive and 2 clutches to a shaft which drives 6 pumps.

In 1928 the work of the beam and gas engine was taken over by electric pumps, with the former kept working and on stand-by until 1955.  Due to changes in modern electrical regulations, it is not viable to restore the electric pumps.

There is also a small smithy, built to supply the site with small items of ironwork, and this was working on the day of the visit making fine pokers, and keyrings.

The CIE were made most welcome by George Beautyman, Mary Kinneavy, and the many other volunteers present to get all the equipment working for us.  A visit to this splendid site is well worthwhile, especially on one of their working days.  Look at à   for information on working days and directions.

Photos of the visit are shown below.

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