VISITORS to a Victorian beam engine house had an unexpected surprise thanks to a temporary exhibition dubbed Bogs, Baths and Basins.
The pair of beam engines, which were retired from use in 1954, are fired up at the end of every month so visitors to the Eastney site can see how they used to move sewage across the city and out to sea.
But this month, the city’s museums service gave the opening a twist. Tim Gower, collections supervisor, said: ‘Where we only open once a month we try to put something a bit different on each time. It’s an excuse to get some of the things out of the collection that are a bit of fun – some of them are quite ornate.
‘It’s all related to sewage and plumbing though, so it’s still fitting to what happens here.’
The classic Boulton Watt beam engines and pumps have been restored to their original condition. As Portsmouth is a low-lying city with poor natural drainage, a new system was introduced in 1868 using gravity to move sewage across Portsea Island to Eastney, where it was pumped out to sea.
Following extensive restoration, the Beam Engine House was opened as an industrial museum in 1972.
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