Hydraulic engine house, Bristol Harbour

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Hydraulic engine house
Hydraulic engine house, Bristol Harbour is located in Bristol
Hydraulic engine house, Bristol Harbour
Location within Bristol
General information
Town or city Bristol
Country England
Coordinates 51°26′49″N 2°37′06″W / 51.4469°N 2.6183°W / 51.4469; -2.6183
Completed 1888

The Hydraulic engine house is part of the "Underfall Yard" in Bristol Harbour in Bristol, England.

The octagonal brick and terracotta chimney of the engine house dates from 1888, and is grade II* listed,[1] as is the hydraulic engine house itself.[2] It replaced the original pumping house which is now The Pump House public house. It is built of red brick with a slate roof and originally contained two steam engines made by the Worthington Corporation. These were compound surface condensing cylinders of 17.5 inches (440 mm) diameter.[3] These were replaced in 1907 by the current machines from Fullerton, Hodgart and Barclay of Paisley. It powered the docks' hydraulic system of cranes, bridges and locks [4] until 2010.

Water is pumped from the harbour to a header tank and then fed by gravity to the high pressure pumps, where it is pressurised thence raising the external hydraulic accumulator. This stores the hydraulic energy ensuring a smooth delivery of pressure and meaning that the pumps do not need to be running the whole time nor be capable of supplying the instantaneous peak demands. The working pressure is 750 lbs/square inch. The external accumulator was added about 1954 when the original inside the building's tower became difficult to service (but it remains in place). The building originally contained a pair of steam powered pumps [5] however these were replaced with three electrically driven ones in 1907.[6] The engine house provided the power for equipment such as the lock gates and cranes until 2010.[7]

The visitor centre in the hydraulic power house opened in time for Easter 2016.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chimney of hydraulic engine house". Images of England. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2006-08-18. 
  2. ^ "Hydraulic engine house". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Rogers, Bertram M.H. (2014). Handbook to Bristol and the Neighbourhood with Map (in Excursion Pamphlets):. Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 9781483223094. 
  4. ^ "Hydraulic engine house". Images of England. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2006-08-18. 
  5. ^ Wallis,G,UNDERFALL YARD SURVEY of HISTORIC MACHINERY,http://www.gwconservation.com/page5.htm
  6. ^ McNeill, Jeremy (1997). Bristol's Harbourside: A Guide to the City Docks. Hotwell. p. 39. ISBN 978-0953027002. 
  7. ^ Clensy, David (13 June 2016). "Nine of Bristol's most unusual listed buildings that you probably don't know". Bristol Post. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  8. ^ http://www.underfallyard.co.uk/