History in Structure

Claymills Pumping Station

A Grade II* Listed Building in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 52.8298 / 52°49'47"N

Longitude: -1.6113 / 1°36'40"W

OS Eastings: 426285

OS Northings: 325879

OS Grid: SK262258

Mapcode National: GBR 5DJ.MF5

Mapcode Global: WHCG6.64ZF

Plus Code: 9C4WR9HQ+WF

Entry Name: Claymills Pumping Station

Listing Date: 3 January 1986

Last Amended: 11 October 2012

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1038427

English Heritage Legacy ID: 273657

ID on this website: 101038427

Location: East Staffordshire, DE13

County: Staffordshire

District: East Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Burton

Built-Up Area: Burton upon Trent

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Stretton with Claymills St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Tagged with: Sewerage pumping station Independent museum

Find accommodation in


A former steam-powered, sewage pumping station, now a visitor attraction, built between 1884 and 1886 to designs by James Mansergh, consulting engineer to Burton-upon-Trent Municipal Borough Council, with George Hodges of Burton-upon-Trent as the main contractor.


MATERIALS: the pumping station is of red brick with hipped slate roofs of low pitch hidden behind a parapet to the engine houses, and a ridge and furrow roof of box profile steel sheeting with ridge-line vents to the boiler house.

PLAN: the pumping station is aligned north-east to south-west and consists of two rectangular engine houses linked by a rectangular boiler house with a rear, central chimney stack. The engine house to the south-west of the boiler house is known as A/B engine house whilst C/D engine house stands to the north-east of the boiler house. The early-C21 replica of E engine house, which stands to the north-east of C/D engine house, is not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: the pumping station is of a free Italianate style with a symmetrical principal elevation facing north-west. Each ENGINE HOUSE, which is of two storeys over a semi-basement, has deep plinths with paired, clasping pilasters at the angles, plat bands over the semi-basement, moulded brick cornices to the ground floor, moulded stone cornices to the first floor and stone-coped parapets. The north-west and south-east elevations have central, double doorways to the semi-basement, a wide tripartite window and narrow flanking windows to the ground floor and four rectangular windows to the first-floor. Running across the south-east elevation of both engine houses are the rods that operated the metering equipment in the lime dosing facility, which were added after 1893. The north-east and south-west elevations of both engine houses are of two bays, divided by paired clasping pilasters, and have a blind semi-basement, two tripartite windows to the ground floor and six rectangular windows to the first floor. All window and door openings have segmental, gauged-brick heads and all windows are one-over-one timber sashes.

The BOILER HOUSE is of one-and-a-half storeys over a basement with a three-bay principal elevation which projects and is divided and framed by wide pilasters; each bay contains an cast-iron casement window of seven-over-seven panes. A moulded brick cornice runs across the top of this elevation over which is a stone-coped parapet. The returns are of two bays of which the left-hand return has a cast-iron framed casement window of seven-over-seven panes and a wagon doorway with a concrete lintel giving access to the internal coal store; a short section of railway track leads into the building. To the right-hand return there is a similar wagon doorway, to the right of which is the BOILER FEED PUMP HOUSE which is a small, single storey, building with cast- iron framed casement windows. The south-east elevation of the boiler house has a projecting central range of two bays with two cast-iron framed casement windows of six-over six panes set beneath two round windows with gauged brick surrounds. Flanking this central range are two recessed bays, each with wooden doorway with segmental-headed fanlights and cast-iron framed casement windows of five-over-five panes. All window openings have segmental, gauged-brick heads. Standing to the rear of the boiler house, and connected to it by an economiser unit in the flue, is a tall, tapering CHIMNEY of circa 30m in height. It is octagonal on plan and has iron-tie rings and a moulded brick cornice and cap. The chimney was restored and the demolished top section of c.10m was rebuilt in 1996.

INTERIOR: the interior of each ENGINE HOUSE is largely complete, each containing a pair of Woolf-type, compound, rotative, beam pumping engines, manufactured by Gimson and Company of Leicester in 1885. Double-doors in the south-east elevation of each engine house provide access to a small platform overlooking the beam end pumps. From here a spiral staircase of cast-iron leads up to the driving floor. In the north corner of the driving floor a staircase leads up to the mezzanine-level packing floor. The final flight of stairs gives access to the beam floor. The beams are of wrought iron box girder construction and the beam of each engine is carried on a central bearing of which the weight is carried down through four Tuscan order cast iron columns to the driving floor. At the top of each engine house there is a manually operated gantry crane; each floor of the engine house is made up of separate cast-iron plates which can be lifted to allow the crane access throughout the building. In the semi-basement of C/D engine house, under C engine, there is a bathroom with painted brick walls. It contains a bath constructed from blue engineering brick, and an original gas light fitting. The engines in C/D engine house were restored in the early-C21 and the cylinders have now been encased in mahogany cladding as a facsimile of the original design.

The BOILER HOUSE contains five Lancashire boilers by John Thompson of Wolverhampton and two economisers by Green’s of Wakefield, all installed in 1936-37. The boilers are fitted with mechanical stokers by Meldrum and Clayton of Manchester, originally installed in 1919. At the north-east end of the boiler house there is a small room containing a stand-by, boiler feed pump by Buxton and Thornley of Burton-upon-Trent. On the north-west side of the boiler house is the coal store which contains coal storage bunkers and a section of railway line which allowed coal to be discharged directly from the coal wagons into the bunkers. To the basement of the boiler house there is a disused sewage holding chamber which was decommissioned on health and safety grounds shortly after the pumping station opened. It now provides the main source of water for the boilers, filling naturally through groundwater. The adjoining BOILER FEED PUMP HOUSE contains two boiler feed pumps: the principal pump is a vertical feed pump by Halls and Sons of Peterborough whilst the second pump, which is now disconnected from the water supply, is a rotative feed pump by Buxton and Thornley. Also contained in this building is a ‘Westminster’ engine by Edward Bennis and Company of Bolton, installed in 1902 to power the overhead line shafting for the stokers.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 07/01/2013


Claymills Pumping Station was built in 1884-85 at Burton-upon-Trent to process the brewing effluent from what had become the country’s largest brewing town. The town first attempted to alleviate the problem of sewage disposal in 1866 when a sewage farm was built on the outskirts of the town at Claymills. By the 1880s, however, the facility was becoming overstretched as both the town’s brewing industry and population rapidly expanded. In an attempt to solve Burton’s acute problem of sewage disposal the Borough Council appointed the civil engineer James Mansergh (1834-1905), later President of the Institute of Civil Engineers, to produce a solution. Mansergh recommended that the sewage should be treated at a new sewage farm to be built on the commons of Egginton and Etwall in Derbyshire, some 2½ miles away, with the effluent being pumped there by a new pumping station to be constructed at Claymills. Works commenced on the new sewage disposal facility in 1884 and the system became operational in 1885. The pumping station, when built, comprised two engine houses, known as A/B and C/D engine houses, each containing a pair of beam engines, along with a boiler house and chimney. From 1893, after receiving complaints about the stench coming from the sewage farm and after the council had been successfully sued for substantial sums of compensation by a vicar and a solicitor, a lime dosing facility was built adjoining the south end of A/B engine house. In the 1920s a new engine house, known as E engine house, was built to provide some additional pumping capacity and in 1936-37 the boiler house was remodelled. In 1957 an experimental sewage treatment plant was commissioned on an adjacent site at Claymills, and this formed the basis for a new sewage works, the first phase of which was commissioned in 1968 and the second in 1969; the lime dosing facility was demolished at this time. With all sewage now being processed at the new treatment plant the two engines in A/B engine house were stopped in 1969 whilst the two engines in C/D engine house were stopped in 1971. In 1974, following the passing of the Water Act of 1973, the site was acquired by Severn Trent Water Authority who undertook a number of repairs, including the underpinning of the boiler house, and demolished E engine house. In 1993 the responsibility for restoring, operating and maintaining the pumping station was handed over to the Claymills Pumping Engines Trust who, by 2002, had restored the beam engines in C/D engine house to working order. The former pumping station is now open to the public as a visitor attraction.

Reasons for Listing

Claymills Pumping Station, a former steam-powered, sewage pumping station, built between 1884 and 1886 to designs by James Mansergh, consulting engineer to Burton-upon-Trent Borough Council, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it illustrates considerable attention to detail in its embellishment, the use of materials and the imaginative integration of the various pumping station components into a well-massed whole;

* Technological interest: the interiors of both engine houses are largely complete, retaining their original, matched pair of Gimson beam engines, along with cast iron staircases, iron cylinder head floor and manually operated gantry cranes;

* Rarity: with Abbey Park in Leicester (listed Grade II*) and Crossness in Bexley (listed Grade I), it is one of only three pumping stations of this size and completeness to survive in England;

* Group value: it forms a complete pumping station complex with the associated workshop, agitator engine house, chief engineer’s office, tinsmith’s shop and dynamo house;

* Historical interest: as a public response to the problem of sewage disposal caused by the brewing industry in Burton-upon-Trent in the late C19.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.