Nottingham Water Supply

1- Water for Life: The Development of Nottingham’s Water Provision
2- Fresh water for Nottingham: Going Underground
3- A need for greater supply - Papplewick Pumping Station
4- Life at Papplewick
5- The modern Pumping Station
6- The continuing search for water


Nottingham Corporation Water Department Steam Pumping Stations

This page shows the steam driven Pumping Stations that once provided clean, fresh water for the people and industry of Nottingham. Of all those featured on this board, Papplewick is the only Station to survive and retain all its original features; the rest have either been demolished or converted. - click the thumbnails for further images

Trent Pumping Station

Opened 1831, built by Thomas Hawsley at the age of 25.
Located on the north bank of the River Trent near Trent bridge (now Victoria Embankment road).
x1 single cylinder, 40hp rotative beam engine. Delivering approximately 600,000 gallons per day.
The Station was the first in the country to supply water at constant high pressure, reducing the risk of contamination. The water was filtered through sand and gravel beds from the River Trent and then pumped to Park Row reservoir.

Trent Works Pumping Station

Zion Hill (Park Works) Pumping Station

Opened in 1850. Located at the top of Nottingham’s Rope Walk near Canning Circus.
Closed in 1895 with the engine and boiler dismantled in 1907. Subsequently used by a garage but became derelict in recent years. In 2011 work commenced on converting the building into dwellings.

Zion Hill (Park Works Pumping Station

Bagthorpe (Basford) Pumping Station

Opened in 1857 and located on the corner of Haydn and Hucknall Road.
The Station was in constant use until 1938 remaining as a regular standby station until demolished and replaced with electric pumps in 1963. One of the beam engines is preserved at Wollaton Park Industrial Museum and demonstrated on special event days. Today, Severn Trent use the site for administration and storage purposes with only the perimeter wall of the old site remaining.

Bagthorpe Pumping Station, pond 1935

Bestwood Pumping Station

Opened in 1871 and located on the A60 heading towards Mansfield.
The J. Witham & Sons beam engines were made to a very high finish and it is claimed that the finish required by the consulting engineer was so costly that it nearly bankrupted the manufacturers, and these would prove to be the last engines the company made. The total cost of the engines and pumps was £14,000, expensive for a station that never pumped the supply of water originally predicted.
The Station was electrified in 1966 but the buildings were saved from demolition and over the years have been put to numerous uses. It is currently home to the Lakeside Restaurant and Fitness Centre.

Bestwood Pumping Station

Papplewick Pumping Station

Opened in 1884 and located on Rigg Lane at the extremities of the Papplewick parish.
The Station is famed for its ornamentation and Gothic Revival style architecture and is without doubt the most elaborate surviving Victorian fresh water Pumping Stations in the British Isles. It had been originally planned for a second pumping station to be built on the site but this was never realised when it became apparent that a second station would drastically reduce the yield from the wells. Unlike the expensive beam engines at Bestwood, Papplewick’s James Watt & Co engines cost just £5,525 each including installation fee.
The Station was electrified in 1969 and has been a museum since 1974, leased from Severn Trent Water by the Papplewick Pumping Station Trust.

Papplewick Pumping Station, Mr Harris

Burton Joyce Pumping Station

Opened in 1898, then extended 1908 and 1926. Located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the village of Burton Joyce.
The original plant consisted of steam engines (unknown types) and was the first Station to pump water from boreholes to Mapperley and Colwick Hill Reservoirs. It was electrified in 1926.
x3 boreholes (14 and 15 inch diameter), approx 500ft deep.
3 million gallons (13.6 megalitres) were pumped daily using three electric pumps and three booster pumps.

Burton Joyce Pumping Station, 1917

Boughton Pumping Station

Opened in 1901, located on Brake Lane, 22 miles north of Nottingham near the town of Ollerton.
Boughton was the last pumping station in Nottingham to pump water from a large diameter well; boreholes and electric pumps were steadily becoming the standard method of water extraction (see Burton Joyce). Water from Boughton was pumped at a rate of 3 million gallons a day to Red Hill Reservoir.
In 1973 Boughton was electrified and the engines scrapped. The money raised from the scrapping of the pumping engines was given to help establish the fledgling Trust at Papplewick.
Although gutted, Boughton’s engine houses still stand and the site is currently a meeting and conference venue.

Boughton Pumping Station, 1965
Heritage Lottery fund supported
Papplewick Pumping Station is an Accredited museum
Quality assured visitor attraction