The British Engineerium occupies the Goldstone Pumping Station in Hove, built in the Gothic style in 1866, which was part of a water supply system devised by Thomas Hawksley (1807-93). Its first engine was a Woolf compound supplied by Easton & Amos of Southwark, London. In 1872 the water company was purchased by Brighton Corporation who expanded the pumping station four years later, installing an engine by Easton & Anderson, as the company was then known. The engines worked until 1962, when they were replaced by electric pumps.
Jonathan Minns (1938-2013) secured the listing of the building in 1971 and took lease of it in 1974. He acquired exhibits from elsewhere, including a turbine of the kind designed by Sir Charles Parsons (1854-1931) and the Corliss engine displayed at the Exposition Universale of 1889 in Paris. Minns opened the pumping station as the British Engineerium in 1976, and it came to take leading role in conservation education in Britain. Lack of funding caused its closure in 2006, and an auction sale of the exhibits was about to start when the building and collection was bought by Mike Holland, a local businessman, whose company, Threadneedle Entertainment, has renovated the buildings and proposes to re-open the pumping station as a substantial visitor attraction in a city that already draws in very large numbers of holiday makers. Apart from the steam engines, themes will include the experience of flight, centred on Sir Thomas Sopwith (1888-1989), the early twentieth-century cinema industry in Hove, and electric power, centred on Magnus Volk (1851-1937) and the Volk Electric Railway. A hybrid-powered bus service is proposed that will link the Engineerium with railway stations and with Brighton’s other major attractions.