SEAMS News Archives

Leith Hill Pump House continued…

By Phillip Sampson

On an earlier visit I had been given a box file which contained a lot of information regarding the pump house. There were mentions of water supply problems back in 1899 where an engineer was looking into natural springs and the collection of water for a farm & possibly dwellings. There were already hydraulic rams fitted to help with water supply issues but by 1902 these were not sufficient and the need for water at two estates required plans & estimates to be drawn up. Costings were added throughout the planning stage as the idea of an engine driving a pump was top of the agenda.

The specification drawn up & dated January 1903 mentions the scheme; “Providing & sinking two iron cylinders 4 feet in diameter for collecting springs and the laying of 3” pipes to take the water by gravity to a reservoir using valves & fittings for controlling where necessary, a small dam & regulating sluice also to be constructed to transfer water by gravity from streams to a filter; this filter to purify 12000 gallons per 24 hours.

The construction of an engine house and to provide & fix an oil engine & a set of three throw plunger pumps capable of easily pumping 1000 gallons per hour to existing reservoirs via 1200 yards of 3” pipe into another reservoir 40 feet higher.”

Initially Campbell & Hornsby Akroyd engines were mentioned at a cost of £156, 10 Shillings but later into these plans a Capel X.L improved oil engine of maximum 6 BHP is the preferred choice; with a flywheel of 4 feet 2 inches, pulley of 18″ with an 8″ face. More next time, hopefully after studying the box file again and working out the old fashioned proper writing where it hasn’t been typed.


by Bliss Drive Review