ABBEY PUMPING STATION

Saving the best till the last. Yes, even better than the 4 Gimson beam engines running together.

First a COAL FIRED CHIP VAN !!! with a queue of customers. We thought it would be surrounded by a crowd of Eco-Terrorists waving their Global Warming placards but they must all be busy waving their Anti Fracking placards next to drilling sites.

Quite the very best of all was this  Cool Jazz quintet that must be the best I have ever heard. They are named KGB Jazz (HERE  &  HERE) and their singer, Gemma Lakin is out of this world, such a big voice from such a slim frame. Both Master Li and I bought one of their CDs which just shows our admiration. Can be found on You Tube HERE

ABBEY PUMPING STATION

Other activities were a craft fair, face painting for the kids, Morris dancing, classic cars, vintage motorbikes and various items from the museum’s collection. We saw ‘Night Mail’ in the museums tiny cinema, despite knowing it off by heart. Quote :-“Two bridges and 45 beats to the next drop.”

Top pic The Morris Men in action

Centre pic. A delightful little Aveling-Barford road roller.

Bottom Pic. A 1930’s OEC bike with girder forks and OEC’s very early spring rear frame. I have a soft spot for OECs as my father was once the very proud owner of an OEC with a big JAP engine and their patent duplex steering. He sold it during the war when he went in the RAF.

ABBEY PUMPING STATION

Abbey has lots of things to see including a two foot gauge industrial railway which offered rides behind this little Lister locomotive seen in top picture. Note it is not just large passenger Express locos that carry names, this is named ‘New Star’.

Interesting too was a rare Aveling & Perkins road roller driven by a well trained bear. I presume the Perkins part referred to the Peterborough diesel engine maker F. Perkins Limited

BEGOGGLED TOPHATTED YOUNG LADY
—-with  a cuddly Cephalopod
The RedHead Appreciation Society
We cater for any shade of green.
From BrassGoggles HERE
PS Thanks to derp-in-the-herplights  for this :-  ”Cloggy, the young lady with green hair and the octopus is named Victoria. The Octopus is Otto. They are characters created by the artist Brian Kesinger =) Just so you can give credit where it’s due.”

BEGOGGLED TOPHATTED YOUNG LADY

—-with  a cuddly Cephalopod

The RedHead Appreciation Society

We cater for any shade of green.

From BrassGoggles HERE

PS Thanks to   for this :-  ”Cloggy, the young lady with green hair and the octopus is named Victoria. The Octopus is Otto. They are characters created by the artist Brian Kesinger =) Just so you can give credit where it’s due.”

ABBEY PUMPING STATION

The Pumping Stationdid not open its gates until midday and as we had set off at 9am we had to wait for them to open. As we were parked in the National Space Centre car park, which is next door to the Pumping Station, we decided to have a coffee in their cafe. MISTAKE. It was the worst coffee I have ever tasted. During the war the Germans used to make ersatz coffee by roasting acorns and grinding them up. I now know what it must have tasted like. To compound matters the cafe was in the bottom of a tall structure (seen in the background of the Steam shovel picture) that housed two very tall, full size  replica Atlas or Saturn Space Rockets. The tables in the cafe were between their fins. After a message over a Tannoy there was a thunderous roar, the rocket tailpipe glowed red and vast clouds of white smoke came out of it, filling the cafe with a dense fog. This continued at short intervals.  We were very glad when the Pumping Station opened its doors.

Top Pic. Statue of spaceman with chimney of Pumping Station in background.

Lower Pic. This magnificent relic of TheSteam Age greeted you as you walked in.

ABBEY PUMPING STATION

There was only one place on the planet you could see 4 beam pumping engines running together.The place was Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester, the time was 28th/29th of June and Master Li and I were there to see and hear them. Not as a result of long term planning, but Happenstance or Serendipity. We had planned to go to the traction Engine Rally at North Anston in South Yorkshire. There was heavy rain on Saturday and we knew it would be bad underfoot on Sunday and Master Li’s van is very skittish on wet grass. I looked in an events calender for an inside location and found that Abbey would be steaming so off we went down a surprisingly event free M1 to Leicester.

Abbey Pumping Station was steaming indeed. Their four engines are all in working order but their boiler will only steam one engine. At a pinch it will steam two but runs out of puff in 20 minutes.

To mark 50 years since the Pumping Station closed they had hired in a high power steam generator so they could run all four together. It is unlikely to ever happen again as it cost £10,000 for the weekends hire !!

So a unique event and happy chance for me & Li.

Top pics the four engines running

Bottom Pic the high power steam generator