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Goldthorn Hill pumping station

A Grade II Listed Building in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton

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Latitude: 52.568 / 52°34'4"N

Longitude: -2.1337 / 2°8'1"W

OS Eastings: 391036

OS Northings: 296691

OS Grid: SO910966

Mapcode National: GBR 1CR.2V

Mapcode Global: WHBFZ.6Q75

Plus Code: 9C4VHV98+5G

Entry Name: Goldthorn Hill pumping station

Listing Date: 23 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1423842

Location: Blakenhall, Wolverhampton, WV2

County: Wolverhampton

Electoral Ward/Division: Blakenhall

Built-Up Area: Wolverhampton

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Wolverhampton St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Water pumping station, disused. c1851, by H J Marten, with input from Thomas Hawksley, for the Wolverhampton Waterworks Company. Built by Jones and Treasure of London.


Water pumping station, disused. c1851, by H J Marten, with input from Thomas Hawksley, for the Wolverhampton Waterworks Company. Built by Jones and Treasure of London.

MATERIALS: constructed of red brick with limestone ashlar dressings under slate-clad roofs which are hipped to the boiler house and coal shed.

PLAN: rectangular on plan, comprising the double-height engine house and attached boiler house and coal shed to east, with the square base of a chimney beyond.

EXTERIOR: the engine house is a double-height building of one storey, designed in the Italianate style. The roadside front is one bay wide, with two bays to the west and east elevations. The bays are articulated by clasping brick pilasters with moulded stone capitals, which rise to a cornice and a later brick parapet with stone coping. To the south-facing entrance bay is a tall, round-headed, moulded, blind arch with a pair of double doors (boarded over) beneath a bracketed cornice to the lower part and a round-arched window with metal-glazing bars above. Below the cornice are triple intersecting oculi with moulded stone surrounds. The side elevations are of a matching style with tall windows to the arches, and also intersecting oculi above. The four-bay boiler house has plain brick pilasters and round-arched windows. The brick chimney has a square section and has been truncated.

INTERIOR: not inspected (2014). The engine, beam floor and entablature have been removed from the engine house, and the boilers from the adjacent boiler house.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURE: there is a surviving section of ramped boundary wall, built of red brick with a capping of blue bricks, and a single, square, brick gate pier to the roadside frontage of the site.


The Wolverhampton Waterworks Company was formed in 1845, and that same year constructed a pumping station at Tettenhall to supply water to the town and its suburbs. However, due to the inadequate quantity of water obtained at Tettenhall as a result of restrictions on the depth of its wells, an additional pumping station was established at Goldthorn Hill in 1851. The site comprised the engine house, boiler house, coal shed and store room within a single building, two cooling ponds to the rear, and an engine attendant's house (No.150 Goldthorn Hill) and stables fronting onto the road. Two covered reservoirs were built on the opposite (south) of the road. The architecture of Goldthorn Hill was without doubt strongly influenced by the Italianate style and detailing of the larger Tettenhall pumping station (Grade II) whose construction was overseen by Henry J Marten, the water company’s resident engineer from 1846. An article in the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers of 1856 indicates that Marten was also involved in the design of Goldthorn Hill pumping station, with advice from the renowned and prolific engineer Thomas Hawksley. It was built by Jones and Treasure of London. In 1868 the water company was taken over by Wolverhampton Corporation.

Goldthorn Hill pumping station formerly housed a Cornish condensing beam engine, manufactured by J and W Hawthorn of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and two low pressure boilers in an attached boiler house. This engine was subsequently dismantled and re-erected at Tettenhall, and was replaced with a geared engine by Joseph Evans & Sons (Wolverhampton) Ltd.; new boilers were also installed, and an elevated cast-iron water tank with a 40,000 gallon capacity was erected on the roof of the engine house, though it was dismantled sometime after 1940. The pumping station was not particularly successful, producing only a small yield of 120,000 gallons per day, and it was unable to meet the increased demand for water as Wolverhampton’s population grew, and in 1895 after the well supply was abandoned a vertical Cameron steam pump was installed. During the early decades of the C20 electric pumps were installed (1915) and the house was rebuilt in a loose Arts and Crafts style. The site is no longer (2014) operational.

Reasons for Listing

Goldthorn Hill pumping station in Wolverhampton, probably designed by Henry J Marten for the Wolverhampton Waterworks Company, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: it was built in c.1851, particularly early in the development phase of C19 waterworks in England, and as such is one of the country’s earliest examples of pumping station architecture;
* Architectural interest: a carefully-detailed and architecturally-distinguished composition in a mannered Classical style, using good-quality materials;
* Group value: designed by Henry J Marten, it shares many characteristics with its sister pumping station at Tettenhall which is listed at Grade II.

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