All hands to the pump
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.”