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Sandhills Pumping Station

A Grade II Listed Building in Shenstone, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.6422 / 52°38'32"N

Longitude: -1.9015 / 1°54'5"W

OS Eastings: 406761

OS Northings: 304948

OS Grid: SK067049

Mapcode National: GBR 3CT.62Z

Mapcode Global: WHBFP.RVQ8

Plus Code: 9C4WJ3RX+VC

Entry Name: Sandhills Pumping Station

Listing Date: 19 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1421472

Location: Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS9

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Shenstone

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Stonnall St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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A water pumping station, built in 1935, by F J Dixon Chief Engineer for the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, and constructed by Thomas Lowe and Sons, in a stripped-classical style. Not included in the listing are the detached ancillary water structures to the rear of the building.


A water pumping station, built in 1935, by F J Dixon who was chief engineer for the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, and constructed by Thomas Lowe and Sons, in a stripped-classical style.
MATERIALS: red brick in Flemish-bond, with red Hollington stone dressing.
PLAN: the engine house has a rectangular footprint on a north-west to south-east axis, with a rear service block.
EXTERIOR: a single-storey building with a basement. The front elevation has three bays. A set of stone steps, flanked by dwarf walls, lead up to a central entrance which has double glazed doors and a fanlight within a rounded-arch with a deep key-stone and moulded brick surrounds. Above the arch is a 1935 date stone. The entrance is flanked by two large windows with glazing bars, both within arched openings in the same style as the entrance. At either end of the elevation are clasping pilaster strips formed by rusticated brick detailing. Above is a plain cornice band, wide stone panel inscribed SANDHILLS/ SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE WATERWORKS COMPANY and a stepped parapet. The returns are narrow, with a single projecting bay containing a round-arched window in the same style as the front elevation. To the rear is a lower office and service block. The side elevations have a single bay containing a large central window with glazing and margin bars, a basement window below, and flanked by recessed herring-bone patterned panels. The rear elevation has an asymmetrical fenestration, with a taking in door to the left and a set of entrance doors to the right.
INTERIOR: the engine hall has red, green and cream tiled walls and a red tiled floor arranged in a herring-bone pattern. There are two wells surrounded by tubular metal railings in the centre of the room. An overhead cast-iron crane gantry manufactured by Herbert Morris Ltd is supported by pilasters. Above is a metal-framed, braced rafter roof. The service range has a tiled manager’s office with a framed historic plan of the pumping station fixed to the wall, and other tiled service rooms. A set of stairs with tubular metal railings leads to the basement which contains brick tanks, drains and maintenance corridors. Most of the building’s original internal timber doors survive, as does the foundation plaque, and original temperature and depth gages. The building houses C21 machinery, including two later electric pumps and the central modern control centre*, which are not of special interest.
* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the modern electric pumps and the rest of the modern plant equipment and modern central control centre are not of special architectural or historic interest.
There are detached single-storey service buildings to the rear of the pumping station, including two concrete sheds and a brick chlorine treatment centre, that are excluded from the listing.


By the C19 the district of South Staffordshire had become densely populated and drinking water supplies were often contaminated by local mining works. South Staffordshire Waterworks Company (SSW) was formed in 1853, under the guidance of the eminent civil engineer John Mclean, who had long been working to improve and extend the uncontaminated water supply within this area. The company expanded during the late C19 and C20, taking over the neighbouring waterwork suppliers of Dudley (1862), Burton (1864), Kinver (1929), and Tamworth (1962). It became a publically limited company in 1991 listed as South Staffordshire Water.

Sandhills Pumping Station, Shenstone was built following the passing of the South Staffordshire Waterworks Act of 1922. This act empowered the company to proceed with building works at Slitting Mill, Sandhills, Little Hay, and Prestwood. Powers were also granted to construct reservoirs at Shavers End, Coseley and Cawney Hill. The chief engineer was Frederick Jones Dixon (1869-1949), who had been appointed in 1917. His term of office at South Staffordshire Water was one of the most eventful periods of expansion in the company’s history with the construction of twelve new pumping stations (nine new sources), as well as 13 new reservoirs and towers, including Seedy Mills Pumping Station, Lichfield (Listed Grade II). In 1943 he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Sandhills was built in 1935 by Thomas Lowe and Sons Ltd. Lowe and Sons also constructed the transformer house, office, workshop and the associated semi-detached workers cottages. Two boreholes were sunk, each 531 feet deep with a maximum diameter of 48 inches. The pumping plant was supplied by Mather and Platt Ltd. and consisted of two pumping units, a seven stage borehole pump and a six stage booster pump mounted on the same vertical shaft driven by an A.C. commutator motor. The original engines have both been replaced. The building is still in use and the current machinery is all C21.

Reasons for Listing

Sandhills Pumping Station, built in 1935 by Thomas Lowe and Sons Ltd,
excluding the detached ancillary structures to the rear, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it possess a good-quality, expressive design which utilises well the local red Hollington stone dressing and decorative brick work;
* Date: as an example of a well-designed inter-war pumping station, which compares favourably with other similar buildings of this date;
* Intactness: the plan of the building has undergone little alteration and, despite the loss of the machinery, its process is still clearly legible in the surviving fabric;
* Association: it was designed in house by F J Dixon, who is also responsible for Seedy Mill Pumping Station (Grade II) and oversaw one of the most eventful periods in South Staffordshire Waters history.

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