Springhead Pumping Station

I had to take my car for its annual safety check this morning, so enjoyed a walk home along a couple of miles of the former Hull to Barnsley railway track. It was a blissfully quiet, the only other person on my route being a harried dog walker, minus her dog who had decided it would be more fun to go on a solo walkabout.

The route winds past Springhead Pumping Station – constructed in 1864 to provide the growing city with clean drinking water and still providing us with 25 million litres a day from the aquifer deep below.

I find buildings interesting. They raise a lot of questions. Who built it, and why? Why did they choose those materials and build it in the way that they did? Well designed buildings have the power to make you feel good about the place you are in, poorly designed ones do the opposite.

This is a beautiful building, constructed in red and yellow brick with large arched windows and an octagonal lantern perched atop a square tower. It was once open as a museum but closed when Yorkshire Water became paranoid about poisoning of the water supply, and nowadays it’s surrounded by vast amounts of fencing and enormous security gates. It would once have been visible for miles around, but it’s impossible to get a good look at the building now.

This picture from Chris Pepper shows it from inside the grounds:

Credit to Chris Pepper

The Victorians didn’t mess around when designing municipal buildings.