Report - - Rural Water Wheel Pumps III (Midlands, 2020 - 2021) | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Rural Water Wheel Pumps III (Midlands, 2020 - 2021)


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Regular User
More water pumps powered by water wheels, mostly from the western side of the Midlands.

Like hydraulic rams, these were common before the arrival of mains water and electricity, but being larger and more complex than rams it’s rare to find complete examples.

Photos are a mixture of phone and camera, usually with the minimum number of pictures to show what’s left.

Starting with one near Netherseal, probably supplying a large house.

It’s shown as a ‘pumping house’ by 1920, although an icehouse is indicated at almost the same position on earlier maps.

This one is missing all of its reciprocating pump except for the crank and some connecting rods which have been dumped down a drain in the floor.

Inside the wheel looking up to where the water comes in, and down the culvert where it goes out.

Next is one near Adderley, which may have supplied Adderley Hall, now demolished.

This lives partly underground under a well-camouflaged brick vault which is in process of collapsing.

The water came down a long leat entering through the channel at the bottom of this picture…

…and exited on the far side of the rear view below (the back wall is missing).

The pump cylinders on either side of the little wheel are mostly still there.

Broken ballast tank and a sluice paddle.

The next one near Bagnall is shown as a ‘hydraulic ram’ on maps but turned out to be a water wheel pump - labelling on maps is not always reliable.

Present by 1922, it may have supplied one of the surrounding farms.

The pump bit has gone leaving just the little wheel.

I didn’t notice a makers name on the previous examples, but on this wheel I thought I could make out ‘WHITCHURCH’ by shining a torch from different angles.

It’s too corroded to decipher much more but it could be by W H Smith and Co, Whitchurch, who have been mentioned in a previous thread on pumps in the Harthill area.

Finally, an example next to a lake on the outskirts of Stoke which used to supply Keele Hall - I expect this is well known to the locals since it’s right on a footpath.

The base supporting the wheel was evidently made by W G Cowlishaw, but I haven’t found any information about this maker.

According to Grace’s Guide Cowlishaw might subsequently have been part of Cowlishaw, Walker and Co, an engineering firm in Stoke.

A small mystery is that although the wheel base is dated 1877 the pump house itself is not shown on a 1898 map.

And now for something completely different.

I was looking for a hydraulic ram in the same woods when a dog walker asked me what I was doing and said had I seen the gun.

Turns out it’s just the base of a WW2 antiaircraft gun which was modified to mount a radio telescope.

Still, odd thing to see in the woods so worth one picture.



Regular User
The base supporting the wheel was evidently made by W G Cowlishaw, but I haven’t found any information about this maker.
William George Cowlishaw.
Operated several partnerships as Mechanical Engineers/Iron Founders in Etruria, always with him as senior partner. In 1892 the company became Cowlishaw, Walker & Co

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