|Change Of Name For Kew Bridge Steam Museum|
Victorian visitor attraction reopens after redevelopment
Following its £2.3 million re-development, the newly named London Museum of Water and Steam will open to the public tomorrow ( Saturday March 22, 2014) as part of World Water Day.
The London Museum of Water and Steam (formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum) is one of London’s most significant Victorian visitor attractions.
The Honourable Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture officially opened the museum today (21 March) alongside local MP Mary Macleod and local dignatories.
The museum houses some of the world’s rarest working steam engines still in their original location and tells the story of how the Victorians cleaned up London’s water supply – and in doing so created the blueprint for the modern city of London.
As part of the £2.3m refurbishment, using Heritage Lottery Funds, the London Museum of Water and Steam will take visitors on a journey through time. There are examples of how water was used from the 17th Century to the present day, as well as crawl-through tunnels and walk-through sewers.
There are also two laboratory areas for children to examine clean and dirty water as well as interactive exhibits on how much water we now use in the UK compared to other places around the world. Outside there is a new Splashzone, where children of all ages can make water travel to heights of up to 5 metres with the assistance of specially designed pulleys, levers, sluices and pumps, as well as the 1902 Hindley Waterwheel, which shows one of the ways water was moved in the early 20 Century.
A new visitor entrance and café have been added and there is a new locomotive shed and a refurgished fire engine shed.
Kew Bridge Pumping Station was built in 1838, to give a constant supply of clean water that was pumped directly into people’s homes. Thanks to Thomas Wicksteed, the innovative engineer of the Grand Junction Water Works Company which built Kew Bridge Pumping Station, steam engines were able for the first time to pump water 24 hours a day at a price people could afford. It was this single technical innovation which made the expansion of London onto a World City possible.
The London Museum of Water and Steam houses five original and four other large pumping engines, one of which the 90 inch Cornish Engine, is the largest example in the world. Most of these engines are in steam every weekend and Bank Holidays, along with the museum’s Diesel pumps, narrow gauge railway and steam fire engine. On weekdays a number of engines are operated electrically including the Hindley Waterwheel and the James Kay double beam rotative engine.
In 1993 the United Nations declared March 22 as World Water Day in an attempt to raise global awareness of the world’s water as a precious and finite resource.
The Kew Bridge Engines Trust was established to restore the buildings and pumping engines of the Kew Bridge Pumping Station and to open the site to the public. It has operated the Museum for 37 years during which time it has repaired the main historic buildings, restored four of the five original pumping engines to working order, and added four more large pumping engines, many other exhibits and displays on water supply, and a narrow gauge steam railway.
The Museum opens six days a week, with the pumping engines operating most weekends. Further details are on www.kbsm.org.