Welcome to the website of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust, formerly known as the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station. We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered charity number 1160873 whose objective is to save the redundant waterworks at Sandfields, Lichfield.

The waterworks was built to serve the community and we believe that it should continue to a benefit the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station is a Grade II* listed site that is possibly one of the most overlooked yet important pieces of social and industrial heritage that Britain has. There is a strong argument that this building and its Cornish beam engine possibly saved a million lives from death by cholera. Unfortunately it is also an example of our heritage industrial heritage that is at risk.

The objective of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust is;

(1) To promote and preserve for the benefit of the public the Grade II* listed nineteenth-century Sandfields Pumping Station complex and associated infrastructure, and to facilitate its safety, conservation, security and accessibility.

(2) To promote and preserve for the benefit of the public the unique 1873 Cornish Beam Engine and other fixtures and fittings situated at Sandfields Pumping Station, Chesterfield Road, Lichfield.

(3) To promote access to Sandfields Pumping Station for the purposes of education, arts, community development, and protection of the historic environment.

(4) To work in partnership, as appropriate, to promote the social and historical context of Sandfields Pumping Station in Staffordshire and the West Midlands, and to build a community of interest around these topics.

(5) To promote, manage, maintain and restore water supply industry infrastructure assets and archives which are of historical significance for the benefit of the public.

(6) To acquire, disseminate, publish and make accessible historical information, archival material, artefacts and experiences relating to Britain’s water supply industry for the purposes of education, recreation, tourism and community development.


Lichfield Waterworks Trust – Saving Britain’s Industrial Heritage from Morturn on Vimeo.

This beautiful building and its magnificent Cornish beam engine is being slowly and systemically destroyed.

This engine and building is unique. It is the only surviving engine in the whole world of its kind in this condition. Built in the Black Country, to supply water to the Black Country, it is a magnificent monument to the lives of individuals, telling the extraordinary story of fresh drinking water and how this supported the Industrial growth of the industrial revolution. The philanthropic endeavours of the Victorian engineers shows us how the benefits of giving something back to society, improved the heath, welfare and working lives of many people, and lead the way to the formation of the National Health Service as we know it today.

The site was sold to Persimmon PLC in 2003 who signed a Section 106 planning agreement stating;

“It is intended to include the Pumping Station within the development at Chesterfield Road, retaining the listed part of the property and demolishing the newer structure to the part of the tower. The beam engine would be left in its original setting and the structure refurbished to include toilet and parking facilities. In addition, two double garages will be provided for the retained bungalows along Chesterfield Road to the north, as the current occupiers have rights to park in this area.

It has been suggested that a licensed leisure se might be appropriate to complement the listed building. Persimmon will set up an adequately funded management company with trustees to maintain the property in perpetuity.


Maintenance of the Tower

1. Within 12 months of the Commencement Date, details of the proposed future
maintenance arrangements for the Tower shall be submitted to the Corporate
Director for his written approval.

2. Following receipt of the approval required by paragraph 1 above, to thereafter
maintain the Tower in accordance with the approved details unless otherwise agreed
in writing with the Corporate Director.”

The housing development had been completed, the homes have been sold, the Section 106 planning agreement has not been fulfilled.

A Section 106 planning agreement is a contract between a developer and the Council that basically says ‘go ahead and build, make your money, but give something back to the community’.

At this moment in time, there are several windows missing or broken. Lead flashing have been stolen from the roof and a roof access door has been damaged allowing water ingress.

There has been a number of incidents of unauthorised access, and a number of original archive documents have been scattered and damaged. These incidents have been reported to Persimmon Homes and Lichfield District Council’s senior conservation officer. An acknowledgement or a response has not been forthcoming.

While the people who can prevent this destruction sit around and do nothing, this unique piece of our industrial heritage is slowly but surely being destroyed; it is unique and cannot be replaced.

We need your help to prevent this from happening. If you would like to become a part of this exciting project and a guardian of our industrial heritage, the Lichfield Waterworks Trust is free to join and welcomes everyone, please join our group by signing up for news updates below;


4 Responses to

  1. Pingback: Gathering steam | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  2. K fFrrell says:

    Your passion for the pumping station is clear.
    However, you need to be more direct in your strategy, otherwise your goals will not be met.
    Having passon for n historical building is what you are doing.
    To save the historic building, you need to be holding the Developers and teh Council to task.
    !200 name petition is what you need, otherwise, forget any influence regarding the outcome of the building.

  3. K fFrrell says:

    1200 nqme petition, just to correct the typo.
    best of luck.

  4. Tricia Wade says:

    I agree with Mr Ferrell. Having taken the Council to task on a few occasions you do need to be direct and a petition does focus their mind – provided it is done in the correct way. If the Developer has made a commitment in the 106 Agreement it should be honoured and their input and assistance sought. I live opposite this wonderful structure and apart from option 5 any of the ideas would be great and to preserve both the building and unique Cornish beam engine – an absolute object of beauty in its design – should be without question but I fear you have a long and arduous road. Councils and Planners would appear to prefer a building to fall into ruin than see it preserved for future generations. Good luck.

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