Tees Cottage Pumping Station in Darlington is pumped up and ready to offer visitors the rare chance to see it in full flow this weekend – and the site is expected to welcome hundreds of people.
The Victorian water works, built in 1849 to make a dramatic impact on public health, once provided clean drinking water to Darlington and the surrounding areas of Teesside until it was converted into a museum in 1980.
Northumbrian Water’s Corporate Affairs Director, Louise Hunter, said: “Tees Cottage Pumping Station is a fascinating place to visit and full of spectacular local engineering history.
“This weekend’s public opening is the first in nearly two years and the museum volunteers are working hard to ensure the site is Covid-safe for everyone – with hand sanitising stations dotted around the site and one-way systems in place, where possible.
“We are so proud of this historic landmark and of the longstanding partnership of over 40 years with the volunteers, who do an amazing job helping us to preserve this special site for generations to come.”
The site re-opening will give visitors a look behind the scenes - where they can see first-hand the giant engines and water pumps in action, watch iron work demonstrations in the smithy, see a small number of vintage vehicles on display, take a ride on the miniature railway, or relax in the tea room with a cake and a cuppa.
The volunteer-run museum still has two original pumping engines, with one being the largest preserved example in Europe, and are superb examples of Victorian architecture.
Chairman and Operations Director David Smart, who has been volunteering at Tees Cottage Pumping Station for the last eight years, said: "The team of volunteers are working hard to get everything ready for the first opening of 2021 and are excited to welcome visitors through the doors.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to see behind the scenes of this fascinating Scheduled Ancient Monument - there is so much to see and do!”
Tees Cottage Pumping Station is open to the public on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September between 11am and 5pm - with last entry at 4pm. The site is located next to the River Tees on Coniscliffe Road, Darlington DL3 8FT.
There is a small entrance charge of £5.00 for adults, £4.00 for concessions and children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult. All money raised during opening days is invested into the continued improvements to this historic monument. There is a small charge for train rides on the miniature railway operated by Tees Cottage Miniature Railway / Cleveland Association of Model Engineers.
For more information about Tees Cottage Pumping Station visit www.teescottage.co.uk