19 December 2018
Lifeline for the ‘Cathedral on the marsh’
Crossness Pumping Station, one of Bexley’s most treasured heritage sites and Grade I listed building, also known as the ‘The Cathedral on the Marsh’, has experienced very restricted opening since March this year after asbestos was discovered in the iconic Beam Engine House during restoration works. The Trust that manages the much-loved building, run by volunteers and funded through grants and charitable donations, had to find over £400,000 to resolve the asbestos problem.
Thames Water was the first to come to the buildings rescue, when they very generously stepped forward with an offer to fund more than half of the costs in the early autumn. Despite enthusiastic fundraising efforts, the Crossness Trustees had not been able to raise the all of the remaining money needed to complete the works.
Cory Riverside Energy has now come to the rescue too, after the Council asked for its help.
The Trust approached the London Borough of Bexley, raising their concerns about the long-term future of Crossness, if the remaining funding could not be found. Recognising the significance of the site and because it is keen to safeguard it, Bexley then approached Cory Riverside Energy, on behalf of the Trust, to see if they could step in and help to save the much-loved building from closure.
Following its board meeting in late October, Cory Riverside Energy’s Chief Executive, Nick Pollard announced that they will be giving £130,000 to Crossness to allow them to finish the asbestos removal works and continue to operate.
Commenting on the donation, Group Chief Executive, Nicholas Pollard, said: “Known as ‘The Cathedral on the Marsh’, Bazalgette’s masterpiece of engineering provides a testament to the abilities and responsibilities of engineers to work for the good of our society and improve our environment. We are delighted to be supporting the local community and developing the interests and skills of the next generation of engineers.”
Rosemary Waugh, corporate responsibility manager at Thames Water, said: “Crossness pumping station is an important part of Thames Water’s heritage, and the Crossness Engines Trust, along with many of our other partners, do a fantastic job of looking after our historic buildings and telling the story of what we do. The £250,000 we’ve donated will help reopen this much-loved and iconic building, and we’re looking forward to next year so that people can once again enjoy its rich and interesting history.
Cabinet Member for Places, Cllr Peter Craske said; “Crossness Pumping Station is a fantastic building with a fascinating history and one of the most popular heritage sites in our borough. We have always given the site and the team there our full support.
“When we heard about the difficulty they were in, we did all we could to try and help. Following Thames Water’s initial and very generous offer of financial support, we are delighted and very grateful that Cory has kindly agreed to meet the substantial funding shortfall, which will ensure that the building remains as an accessible heritage venue for future generations to visit. I would like to sincerely thank both organisations on behalf of the Council and the community for their generosity. They are a prime example of businesses who #doitforbexley.”
Pippa Catterall the Chair of the Trust said; “The discovery of asbestos has been a real challenge for us, coming at a time when the Trust was completing a major project and looking forward to a successful future. 2019 is a very significant year for Crossness Pumping Station – marking the 200th anniversary of Joseph Bazalgette’s birth. Now that the building has been saved, celebrations are being planned - the financial support from Thames Water and Cory and the continued support and guidance of Historic England, has provided a very generous early birthday present!
Crossness Engines Pumping Station was opened in 1865 as part of a London wide solution, developed by Victorian engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette, to the capital’s sewage problem. The system also brought an end to the cholera epidemics that periodically ravaged the population.
Crossness is now designated a Grade 1 Listed building, featuring spectacular ornamental Victorian cast ironwork. It houses an historical exhibition space and four original pumping engines, thought to be the largest rotative beam engines in the world. One of the engines is fully operational during set ‘steaming’ times during the year. The asbestos removal process is already underway, and now that the remaining budget has been secured, the works can be completed. This will enable the site to reopen in spring/summer 2019, in time for celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir Joseph Bazalgette.
The discovery of asbestos came as the Trust was completing a major project, supported with funding of £1.515 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has allowed the Trust to carry out essential repairs to the buildings, install a new exhibition and visitor facilities, restore the formal garden which sits between the buildings and develop its education and outreach programme.
Please contact: Jane Parson on 020 3045 4868, email@example.com
2019 Open Days and Tours
We are pleased to say that as we have been able to raise the funds to complete the urgent structural work needed in the Beam Engine House that we are now able to confirm our 2019 event programme.
View our 'Visit Us' page for full information including opening times and details confirming if Prince Consort is in steam.
Dates scheduled are:-
Open Days - no pre-booking needed just come along
Tours - booking essential through EventBrite - link on our 'Visit Us' page
No admittance without a booking
HOW WE ARE FUNDED
All the money received by the Trust is used to further its primary objectives of conserving and maintaining the buildings engines and site and making them accessible to the public.
Our primary sources of funding are:
Visitors- paying for admission, buying refreshments and items from the shop.
Donations – from individuals keen to support the work of the Trust.
Gift Aid - We encourage those who pay income tax to also sign a Gift Aid declaration when appropriate (usually on admissions and donations) which allows us to claim an additional 25% from HMRC against the income received.
Grants – Grants from organisations such as Historic England, the Homes and Communities Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund have allowed us to undertake major projects that we just would not be able to finance without their support.
Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) – The Trust is registered as an environmental body. This gives us access to funding through the LCF which uses an element of the taxation incurred by companies using landfill sites. Companies providing grants for projects through this scheme usually require the Trust to find 10% of the cost from other sources. We do this by either seeking a donation specific to the project or by using our own funds derived from visits or general donations.
Filming – we get a significant income from making the site available for both feature films and television programmes.
PRESERVING AN INDUSTRIAL CATHEDRAL
First 2019 Family Open Day
Sunday 31st March