Crofton Pumping Engine

The pumping station at Crofton was built  in 1807-09 and was one of the principal sources of water for the Kennet & Avon Canal which opened in 1810. Boulton & Watt supplied one of the surviving engines in 1812. It was rebuilt on the Cornish principle in the 1840s. The second engine was installed by Harveys of Hayle in 1846 and rebuilt as a Cornish engine in 1903. The ‘practical engineers’ who tended the engines in 1861 were both Cornishmen, from Phillack and Redruth. The pumps supply the summit pound of the Kennet & Avon Canal. Springs fed a pound below the lock which became the reservoir called Wilton Water, which is the catchment for rain falling at the east end of the Vale of Pusey, and has developed into an important haven for wild life. The engines raise water some 12 m into the canal. The Kennet & Avon Canal was neglected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century after it passed into the ownership of the Great Western Railway. Pumping at Crofton ceased in the 1950s, and the British Transport Commission announced plans to close the whole canal in 1958. The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust was formed in 1961 with the object of preserving the waterway, and in 1963 it was taken over by the British Waterways Board. The Crofton pumping station was purchased by the Trust in 1968 and subsequently restored. The Boulton & Watt engine was steamed in 1970 when the station was officially opened and the Harveys engine in 1972. Navigation was restored to the Kennet & Avon Canal in 1990, but 2003 is reckoned to be the date when its restoration was completed. Electric power is now used for the day-to-day operation of the canal, but the engines are occasionally steamed at weekends, and the pumping station is regularly open to visitors. There is a tea room and a gift shop, and the engines are within walking distance of the railway station at Great Bedwyn.

Crofton Pumping Engine
SN8 3DW Marlborough
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1672 - 870300