Impressive engines on show in Eastney

111451-2037 EASTNEY ENGINE (CB) MRW 24/4/2011''// all pix taken at the Open Day at Eastney Beam Engine House on Easter Sunday - MRW // ''The  Eastney Beam Engine ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (111451-2037)
111451-2037 EASTNEY ENGINE (CB) MRW 24/4/2011''// all pix taken at the Open Day at Eastney Beam Engine House on Easter Sunday - MRW // ''The Eastney Beam Engine ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (111451-2037)

From broken bones to new beginnings

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Eastney Beam Engine House is opening its doors this weekend and visitors can view a magnificent pair of James Watt beam engines and reciprocal pumps restored to their 1887 condition.

Admission is free into this impressive Victorian building, which shows how engineers overcame problems of sewage pollution.

Because Portsmouth is a low-lying island with poor natural drainage, sewage and waste often polluted the water supply, resulting in many deaths from diseases such as cholera.

Eastney Beam Engine House was built to include a new drainage system in 1868 using gravity to move sewage across Portsea Island to Eastney, from where it was pumped out to sea.

As the city’s population increased, more pumping power was needed and the beam engines that can still be seen today were installed.

When they were retired from normal use, the beam engines were still kept in operating condition as a backup until 1954. Maintenance of the engines and pumps was discontinued after 1954.

Following extensive restoration, the Beam Engine House was opened to the public as an industrial museum in 1972.

The building is found in Henderson Road, Eastney. Call (023) 9282 7261.