Walthamstow Pump House Museum

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Walthamstow Pumphouse museum
Location London.E, United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°34'35.9"N 0°02'05.8"W
Director Lindsay Collier
Website [1]

The Pump House Steam and Transport Museum is a museum in Walthamstow focusing on the pioneering achievements in road, rail, air and sea transport in the River Lea valley from the early 19th century. The aim of the museum is to show how the coming of the railways and the subsequent industrial development affected the Lea Valley area and its people.

The museum is contained in and around Low Hall Pumping Station, a sewage pumping station dating from 1885, whose buildings are Grade II listed. The pumping station still contains a pair of rare Marshall C class steam engines.


What do volunteers do? There is a huge amount of work to be done, involving a wide range of activities. Each volunteer can work on tasks which they feel happy to do. Some of the jobs which are currently being done by volunteers are:

Maintaining the building and yard - Painting, brickwork repairs, electrical installations, cleaning, woodwork repairs, plumbing

Restoring vehicles and other exhibits - Painting, cleaning, machining, fitting, making new parts.

Administration - Organizing events, producing literature, publicizing the museum, keeping records, managing the accounts, serving refreshments to other volunteers, making display boards, cataloging

When do volunteers work at the museum? Our normal working times are Tuesday evenings, 19:00 to 21:00 and Sundays 10:00 to 16:00, with a break for lunch. However many volunteers come in at other times to get on with their jobs.

Can anyone volunteer? Anyone who has something to offer is welcome. We are always looking for volunteers, so if you would like to help out by offering your time to this exciting project, please see our website.

Getting to the Museum[edit]

The museum is located at: 10 South Access Road Walthamstow London E17 8AX.


The Lea Valley Corridor is a small area of Great Britain with a big history – the Lea Valley Corridor stretches from Luton in the north to the River Thames and Bow in the south. Most industrial history students should be able to tell you where the Industrial Revolution began. However, very few would know the birthplace of the second industrial and technological revolutions. Indeed, today very few residents who live within the Lea Valley, and even Britain’s leading historians, are aware of its important industrial heritage and technological triumphs, many of which are of world significance. Over the past two centuries the Lea Valley Corridor was once a place of invention and innovation, now sadly forgotten.

The Museum's Early Years: The idea of an Industrial Steam and Transport Museum in Walthamstow was conceived in the late 1970s. The former Director of Works at the Walthamstow Urban District Council Depot at Low Hall Farm, Mr John Bonser, asked the Council to save the 1877 Victorian Pumping Station within the depot, and the rare Marshall C Class Steam Engines housed there, for future generations to enjoy. He also recognised that the Borough's industrial transport heritage's achievements, which were of national importance, needed to be celebrated locally, and envisaged the Pumphouse becoming a future Industrial and Steam and Transport Museum to do just that.

The Wider Concept: Mr Bonser was also aware that the Lea Valley Corridor in general had many notable achievements in the field of both Industrial and Transport heritage that needed to be celebrated as well. The First Museum and Collection: A number of local artefacts began to be stored within the Pumphouse for future display – these continue to grow as we develop our capacity to effect exhibitions. The Marshall Steam engines were given a clean and a coat of paint, awaiting the day that they would be returned to steam and their former glory.

Early Open Days and Vintage Vehicle Runs: Progress was now being made, and the unofficial museum was opened to the public on a number of occasions. In the 1970s and 1980s, a series of vintage vehicle runs took place in the Borough to mark its important contribution to the History of Transport in Great Britain. Called the Bremer Run, it was named after Frederic Bremer, a Walthamstow resident who built the first British car to be powered by an internal combustion engine in 1894. Various local publications also began to appear, published by the Walthamstow Antiquarian Society, now the Walthamstow Historical Society, to complement the Borough's important transport heritage past. The Lost Years 1980 – 1994: Mr. Bonser retired due to ill health soon after, leaving the Council, and the project was left uncompleted – the condition of the engines and artefacts stored within the Pumphouse then began to deteriorate. Fortunately, thanks to the security guard at the Low Hall depot at least the engines were given a coat of oil occasionally which helped protect them.

The New Dawn: In 1994, with the threat of the building being demolished, the current project leader and a group of concerned locals and societies joined forces to stop the destruction of our local heritage. With the need for a new community facility in the area, a plan was conceived to use the site for the dual purpose of a combined Museum based around Mr Bonser's idea. The Council agreed to the concept of the proposals for the use of the site, and a business plan was drafted by the project’s steering committee, called the Friends of the Low Hall Farm Pumphouse, now called the Friends of the Pumphouse Steam and Transport Museum. The Friends of the Pumphouse Steam and Transport Museum: The Friends were fully constituted in 1995, with a membership currently around seventy people. The Museum Today: The Charity / Company name has been changed to reflect the new and exciting vision, and is now simply Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum. The museum is currently being developed to celebrate the industrial and transport achievements of the Lea Valley Corridor. This will include the story of commodities in the Lea Valley which will be celebrated in our proposed new street scene, as well as the history of the Low Hall area. Management of the museum is overseen by a group of Trustees, while the Trust also has its own members. The day to day running of the Museum including, crucially, all restoration and maintenance work, is carried out by a large number of active volunteers who have a variety of skills which are put to good use on a wide range of tasks. The project also has a new development board to assist the Trust in raising the funding required to develop the project. A thirty year lease has been granted to the Trust by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The museum has been accepted for LMA museum accreditation which is an ongoing process and it is proposed that full registration will be achieved in time for the museum's re-opening.

We are also a registered Charity Number 1104509 and a non-profit Company Number 3299935.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Heritage railways in England