South Staffordshire Waterworks
Wood Green Pumping Station
Wood Green Depot (Workshops)
Brunswick Park Road Wednesbury

By David M Coldicott
(The following short history has been compiled from various sources including notes from Johann Van Leerzem and Brian Williams)

The site was first purchased and used for a repumping / booster station to enable the water from the Company’s first works at Lichfield to be boosted to the higher levels of the then supply area. The water from Lichfield was distributed in water mains laid alongside the railway track.
The Company’s’ founders were also connected with the railway development at that time. The location of the Wood Green Booster Pumping Station was adjacent to the railway track in Brunswick Park Road Wednesbury. (This area is residential and the pumping station buildings are a dominant feature of the district.)

Sidings were constructed to facilitate the delivery of coal for the boilers, which supplied the steam to the steam pumping engines. The original pumping plant was commissioned in 1871, supplied by James Watt and Company. The site initially commenced at the corner of Park Hill and Brunswick Park Road. There were some “cottages”, (probably two) for the pumping plant operatives, which faced onto Park Hill. There was also the boiler house and the James Watt engine house.

Over the years the pumping plant was replaced and modernised by various manufacturers. The second steam engine was supplied by Harvey and Company from Hale in Cornwall (who made steam engines for the Cornish mining industry), and the third update by Gallaways of Manchester. The first update began with the construction of a new engine house to house the Harvey and Co engine. This building was attached to the existing James Watt engine house. If you visit the site you may observe the vertical join in the two tall buildings.

The photograph shows the original James Watt engine house to right adjacent to the chimneystack and with the original boiler house now painted white to the right. The Harvey & Co engine house was built onto the original one. The join is to the left of the green down pipe. Note that the site is now split into industrial units.
The join of the James Watt engine house, which is on the right, and the Harvey & Co engine house on the left can be seen to the left of the green down pipe. The last engine house and new boiler house were built at the Wednesbury end of the site to accommodate the Gallaway engine. The last modernisation saw the Gallaway engine replaced by Sulzer pumps driven by Mather and Platt electric motors.

The photograph shows the Gallaway engine house - tall building to the right with the new boiler house adjacent now painted white. In addition, houses were built to accommodate the pumping station personnel. The steam engines in this engine house were replaced by the installation of electrically driven pumps supplied by Sulzer Brothersof Switzerland. In the 1920s a steam driven turbine was installed driving an alternator to provide power for the Sulzer pumps. This was located in an enclosed turbine room located within the then boiler house, which in later years also housed a water fittings testing section and a water meter repair and test facility.

In the mid 1970s the pumping station become redundant with the commissioning of a new booster station at Walsall. Over several decades the Wood Green site was developed into various workshops for the maintenances and repair of pumping plant, which also included some manufacturing of pumping plant parts and associated water distribution fittings. This site development commenced when the Company started to carry out repairs and maintenance to its engineering plant utilising the Companies’ own directly employed labour force. In 1920 redundant pumping station buildings and boiler house were utilised to centralise stores and establish an administration office.

In the 1930s some of the original houses and other buildings were demolished to provide land for the construction of a “modern” centralised stores, carpentry/joiners shop and a vehicle/plant maintenance workshop. Old pump rooms were used for engineering machine shop with electrically driven machine tools.

Machinist at his large lathe. The machine shop was located on the 1st floor of the old pumping station that once housed the beam engine manufactured by Harvey & Company. The large cast columns that supported the beam of the steam engine still existed in 2006.
The Central Stores building as it was in 2006. It was built on the site of the original Company cottages associated with the James Watt booster station. On the site a testing shop was established to test all apparatus and fittings that were to be connected to the water supply. Over the years many thousands of water fittings were tested and stamped, this activity became unnecessary with the introduction of national Water Regulations and British Standards. Other activities included a water meter repair and testing shop, welders / fabrication shop, and an electricians shop.
Photograph showing operatives clearing snow, note the combination domestic water tanks which were tested and stamped in the Fittings Testing shop. In 1957 the Company purchased the railway sidings, which were originally established for the delivery of coal for the steam driven pumping plant. The additional land was utilised for the storage of plant. The blacksmiths shop was also constructed on this land.
Picture of blacksmith, in the Blacksmith’s Shop. In 1981 the whole of the site was sold to a local businessman. The activities of Workshops, Stores, Joiners/Carpenters and Garage workshops being transferred to purpose built facilities at Green Lane Walsall. The majority of the original buildings at Wood Green (Brunswick Park Road) still exist- 2006 and are used as industrial units, although some of the buildings may be demolished to allow for residential development.

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