2018 will see the unveiling of the Museum's newest attraction, which brings right up to date the story of water pumping at the Kew Bridge site. The newly restored Electric House will be home to a unique collection of exhibits that show how electricity transformed London’s water supply in the twentieth century.
Originally built to house the last steam engine installed at Kew Bridge in 1891, the Electric House gets its name from its more recent inhabitants: six electric pumps installed in 1944 to replace the site’s steam engines, in operation right up until 1986 and the building of a more modern pumping station next door to where the Museum now stands.
At that time, five of the original pumps were removed, but the one remaining pump set, now restored and renovated, will form one of the centrepieces of the new display. It’s also a reminder of the fascinating history of how electricity came to replace steam as the main means for water pumping in the capital.
The Metropolitan Water Board (MWB) was at the forefront of electricity generation right back in the late nineteenth century, originally with steam-powered generators which created sufficient electricity for lighting. One of the highlights of the new Electric House will be a 1907 steam powered generator which visitors will be able to see in action.
From the 1920s, the MWB was investing in larger sites with their own large-scale turbines generating sufficient electricity to power pumps. Much of this plant has all but disappeared, but our new display will include parts from these giant machines and the switchboards that would have controlled them.
As electricity became the main means of powering pumping stations, taking electricity from the mains replaced on-site generation. However, older sites had to tackle the issue of converting mains electricity (AC) to the DC equipment they couldn’t afford to update or replace. Enter another of our exhibits, the Mercury Arc Rectifier which, with its blue glow and appearance straight from the pages of science fiction, will justifiably be popular with visitors of all ages.
An electric pump rescued from the 1986 water pumping station, itself now obsolete, reminds us that, just as the Electric House represented a shift into the modernity of the electric age, so water pumping technology today is part of the electronic age. A visit to the Museum will soon take visitors on a journey from the giant steam engines run and maintained by shifts of workers to the eve of an era where, today, water supply is entirely automated and computer controlled.
Museum Members will have the opportunity to meet and hear from the Electric House’s Project Director, Richard Albanese at the upcoming AGM on 7th July, as well as the chance to see the latest progress for themselves.
Others won’t have too long to wait either. The finishing touches are being put in place for launch at the beginning of 2018. The new Electric House promises to be a fitting tribute to London’s water supply in the electric age, and a most exciting space to visit.
|Mon 13 November Announcing our Winter at the Waterworks season - 13/11/2017 13:57:00 find out more|
|Sat 04 November Museum members enjoy Electric House preview evening - 04/11/2017 16:09:00 find out more|
|Tue 07 November Rotative engines taking a rest this weekend 4th - 5th Nov - 07/11/2017 10:54:00 find out more|
|Thu 26 October Museum acquires unique collection of glass negatives - 26/10/2017 08:46:00 find out more|
|Mon 16 October Mists and mellow fruitfulness: in praise of the Museum garden - 16/10/2017 09:47:00 find out more|
|Thu 28 September Thursday 5th October - Museum Close for Private event - 28/09/2017 14:35:00 find out more|
|Thu 14 September Museum Director Vacancy - 14/09/2017 15:17:00 find out more|
|Mon 07 August A little Imagination goes a long way....... - 07/08/2017 17:04:00 find out more|
|Mon 07 August My favourite thing: Ed Fagan, Museum Operations Manager - 07/08/2017 16:44:00 find out more|
|Fri 16 June Power surge: countdown to the new Electric House - 16/06/2017 17:56:00 find out more|
|Tue 13 June Steam Heritage London Podcast - 13/06/2017 19:04:00 find out more|
|Tue 18 April Important Notice - Road Closure - 18/04/2017 12:31:00 find out more|
|Thu 13 April Easter Weekend Update - Steam Fire Engine - 13/04/2017 13:58:00 find out more|
|Mon 27 February May - Cornish Engine House Temporary Closure - 27/02/2017 10:27:00 find out more|
|Mon 06 February Our Steaming Calender in a Flash! - 06/02/2017 12:19:00 find out more|
|Tue 03 January Planned Railway Closure - 03/01/2017 13:02:00 find out more|
|Wed 21 December Best Christmas Present Ever! - 21/12/2016 08:48:00 find out more|
|Thu 08 December Road and Car Park now fully open! - 08/12/2016 11:36:00 find out more|
|Fri 25 November Important Notice - Road Closure - 25/11/2016 16:08:00 find out more|
|Mon 07 November Marketing Trustee Vacancy - 07/11/2016 12:25:00 find out more|
|Mon 31 October Important Notice for Visitors - Railway in Steam Only Until Further Notice - 31/10/2016 09:31:00 find out more|
|Tue 27 September Museum closed for private function - Tuesday 15th of November - 27/09/2016 13:42:00 find out more|
|Thu 15 September CAR PARK CLOSED 17TH & 18TH SEPTEMBER - Fantastic Fire Engines - 15/09/2016 16:57:00 find out more|
|Wed 31 August Current Issues with Online Booking System. - 31/08/2016 16:18:00 find out more|
|Mon 22 August Important Car Park Update -Monday 22nd - 22/08/2016 10:00:00 find out more|
|Sun 21 August Important Car Park Update - Today - Sunday 21st August - 21/08/2016 08:53:00 find out more|
|Tue 26 July Cornish weekend update – 30th – 31st July - 26/07/2016 11:25:00 find out more|
|Sun 10 July Peppa Event Today - Sunday 10th July - 10/07/2016 11:56:00 find out more|
|Tue 07 June Pop Up Opera – tickets are selling fast! - 07/06/2016 16:18:00 find out more|
|Wed 06 April Tickets now on sale! - Music & Magic – Friday 13th May - 06/04/2016 15:34:00 find out more|
|Tue 29 March Easter Fun at the Museum! - 29/03/2016 11:18:00 find out more|
|Fri 25 August Tickets now available – Pop-Up Opera this April! - 25/08/2017 13:24:00 find out more|
|Wed 11 November The Museum is turning 40! - 11/11/2015 13:28:00 find out more|
|Tue 24 November Hey Clay - 24/11/2015 16:43:00 find out more|
|Tue 27 October Haunted Waterworks tour postponed - 27/10/2015 16:42:00 find out more|
|Fri 16 October Ghost Hunters In This Saturday! - 16/10/2015 13:52:00 find out more|
|Fri 18 September Museum Closed - Wednesday 23rd September - 18/09/2015 17:26:00 find out more|
|Mon 14 September Sunday 27th September - Garden Festival in Association with Speak Out Hounslow - 14/09/2015 18:23:00 find out more|
|Mon 14 September Technical Fault with Email - Monday 14th September - 14/09/2015 12:30:00 find out more|
|Sun 06 September Totally Thames Festival - Bottle Relay - 06/09/2015 12:00:00 find out more|
|Fri 28 August Grand Summer Steam Up - 28/08/2015 10:00:00 find out more|
|Thu 09 July Museum Awarded Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence - 09/07/2015 18:07:00 find out more|
|Thu 09 July The People's Tower: Workshop - 09/07/2015 09:38:00 find out more|