All hands to the pump

Canal Boat - - News -

OUR COM­POS­ITE pic­ture shows the mod­ern scene at Soul­bury Locks on the Grand Union on the left, com­bined with a his­toric pic­ture show­ing a work­ing boat and – in the back­ground – the 179-year-old pump­ing sta­tion build­ing whose restora­tion is un­der­way.

Sup­ported by £391,000 from the Her­itage Lottery Fund, the £700,000 project will see her­itage ap­pren­tices from the Canal & River Trust use spe­cial­ist his­toric build­ing tech­niques to re­pair and re­build the roof and walls of the brick struc­ture, un­der­pin the back wall and re­place doors, win­dows and gut­ter­ing. But there’s more to this ex­er­cise than just sav­ing an old build­ing for its own sake: the Grade II listed struc­ture still ful­fils its orig­i­nal role of hous­ing a pump (al­beit not the orig­i­nal one), in a se­ries which raises wa­ter to­wards the Tring sum­mit and help to keep the canal open in dry sum­mers.

As CRT’s James Clifton put it: “It’s won­der­ful to think that a struc­ture dat­ing back to the year Queen Vic­to­ria was crowned is still be­ing used to­day.”

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