Open for the 2018 Season
We are participating in London Open House on Sunday 23rd September 2018
Entrance is free. Go to our 'Visit Us' page to reserve your place through Eventbrite.
There is a small charge to cover our costs if you need transport to the site as detailed below.
Something for the whole family including:-
An exciting and interesting childrens craft workshop.
Visit the newly restored Valve House including our exhibition of small engines.
Explore our recently installed museum
Talks will be given at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 on the history of the site and restoration work completed to date.
View the progress made on the Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway (RANG)
Tour our historic buildings.
Visit our detailed archives. Scheduled visits at 12:00 and 14:00.
Our experienced and knowledgeable tour guides will be on hand to guide you around the site.
In addition our cafe will be open for refreshments throughout the day.
To transport visitors to and from the site there is a coach operated by Ebdons Tours picking up from Abbey Wood Railway Station (pick up from outside the Abbey Arms Public House in Wilton Rd) at 10:15, 11:15, 12:15 13:15 and 14:15. Return on the hour. Last return journey 16:00. Cost is £4 return for adults. Children are free.
Temporary Closure of the Beam Engine House
Fundraising Target £382,092 (excluding VAT) of which we have received £251,534 from our generous supporters. Thank you so much. Further donations urgently needed if we are to open again next year. Visit our 'Get Involved' page above if you are able to help. We will not be able to thank you enough.
Brief details of he problem
Towards the end of last year an inspection of the Beam Engine House identified the presence of asbestos. We immediately closed the building to everyone including our volunteers as a precautionary measure and commissioned air sampling in the building testing for the presence of asbestos; this came back with negative results. Since then a full survey has been undertaken and a scope of works developed. We have received numerous quotations for the work to be done as the initial quotations were way beyond anything expected. We feel we have now received the best quotation available at £417,000.
The work will take at least 3 months to complete once started but before that can happen we have to raise this very significant sum to cover the cost. This means that we have had to revisit our planned openings for this year and consider what we can offer. The key building, the Beam Engine House must remain closed but we can offer our exhibition, a display of smaller engines and the building itself, at least from the outside! We are also considering mounting short talks to tell you something of the history of the site. Revised openings will be shown in the calendar on this website but, to summarise:
We will host six Open Days this year but with reduced admission charges - £4 adult, £1 children 5-15;
Guided tours will continue as shown in the calendar but at a reduced price of £6 per person. If you have already booked you will be offered the option of a full refund, if you decide not to visit us, or the reduced rate.
History of the site
Built in 1865 as part of Joseph Bazelgettes London wide sewage scheme, and housing 4 of the most magnificent beam engines the world had ever seen, Crossness pumping station dealt with the sewage of South London from 1865 to 1953 (albeit with some modifications), but even it's James Watt engines, Romanesque architecture and fantastically beautiful decorative iron work could save the building from the inevitable.
The pumping station was abandoned in 1953 in favour of more efficient pumps and motive power.Left empty with its future uncertain, the engine house fell in to decay and was at the mercy of vandals, pigeons and the elements. Had it not been for the intervention of a group of enthusiasts in the early 1980s then a jewel from the industrial 19th century may have been lost forever. Having secured its existence with a grade 1 listed status, the group went on to form The Crossness Engines Trust in 1987 with the intention of restoring the once magnificent engine house.
In the early years, the volunteer workforce had just basic tools and the vision that they could resurrect the rusting vandalised hulks that the once great engines had become. Gradually the workforce, expertise and, thankfully, the tool kit grew. By 2003 the first of the beam engines 'Prince Consort' was put back into steam and started by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Work has continued tirelessly to this day. Restoration has been started on a second beam engine 'Victoria'. One half of the old valve house building has been transformed into a gallery of small engines, all relevant to the story of power and pumping. These engines have been painstakingly restored by volunteers and can be seen operating on open days. The Victorian formal gardens have been restored to their original splendid design. We have a well equipped machine shop which makes the restoration work easier and on open days this can be viewed, sometimes with a machining demonstration. Along with a gift shop and Cafe, thanks to Lottery funding, the old boiler house now houses 'The Great Stink' exhibition which tells the story of the river Thames and Londons sanitation from medieval times to present day.
The Volunteer workforce which is always evolving has members with a wide range of skills and abilities. Volunteers alone have made their mark and ensured that a jewel from the past will remain sparkling for generations to come.
PRESERVING AN INDUSTRIAL CATHEDRAL
NEXT FAMILY OPEN DAY:
Sun 23rd September 2018 10:30-16:30