Well Head and Lift Pumps
At the south west end of the engine house you will see the site of the two wells, each having two bore holes from which the water was drawn from a depth of 120 feet below the engine house floor through a cast iron rising main. Each rising main comprised 12 x 10-foot pipes, of 17 inches diameter. Below this was a 16-inch diameter pump barrel and finally a coarse filter pipe through which water was admitted.
Water was drawn from the boreholes using power from the steam engine transmitted through a pair of bell cranks, then down through pump rods to non-return valves connected to the end of each rod. The bell cranks are so arranged that as one non-return valve is descending within the rising main the other is ascending. A second non-return valve, held in place by its own weight, was housed within the pump barrel. The arrangement can be seen in the animation on the right.
This was arranged so as to allow water to be drawn into the rising main by the first non-return valve as it ascended, lifting a column of water approximately 5 feet in length, into the central impound chamber within the engine house. The other static non-return valve in the second pump barrel would be closed. This would allow the non-return valve connected to the descending pump rod to pass through the water, charging ready for the return stroke of the engine, where upon it would deliver water into the central impound chamber. This process would be repeated on each stroke of the steam engine thus balancing the engine's load. A sectioned display of the lift pump components is situated beside the wellhead.
In 1937, the borehole pumps of the Ashton Frost engine were replaced with Mather & Platt electric driven pumps which were housed in a wooden building adjacent to the engine house, over the boreholes. A brick building was constructed at the rear of the engine house for electric driven surface pumps, now the Sutherland Room. A second set of electric pumps were installed in this building in 1951. The electric borehole pumps were installed experimentally, although they, and the wooden building remained until 1980 when the electric submersible pumps, pictured above in front of the old rising main, were installed.