Kew Bridge Steam Museum

Kew Bridge Steam Museum

Infobox Museum
name=Kew Bridge Steam Museum
location =Green Dragon Lane, Brentford
website= []


Kew Bridge Steam Museum houses a museum of water supply and a collection of water pumping steam engines. The museum is an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage. It is situated by Kew Bridge on the River Thames in west London, England.


The Kew Bridge Pumping Station was originally opened in 1838 by the Grand Junction Waterworks Company, following a decision to close an earlier pumping station at Chelsea due to poor water quality. In the years up to 1944 the site expanded, with the addition of more steam pumping engines as well as four Allen diesel pumps and four electric pumping sets. The steam engines were retired from service in 1944, although two were kept on standby up until 1958, when a demonstration run of the Harvey & Co. 100 inch engine marked the final time steam would operate at the site.

The Metropolitan Water Board decided not to scrap the resident steam pumping engines and set them aside to form the basis of a museum display at a later date. This action bore fruit in 1973 with the formation of the Kew Bridge Engines Trust.

Today the site remains an internationally-recognised museum of steam pumping engines as a reminder of the many pumping stations spread throughout London and the UK. In 1999, the United Kingdom government Department for Culture, Media and Sport described Kew Bridge as "the most important historic site of the water supply industry in Britain".Fact|date=August 2007


The museum houses the world's largest collection of Cornish beam engines, including the largest working beam engine, which has a cylinder diameter of 90 inches and was used to pump water to London for 98 years. There are also several other large working Cornish beam engines, a triple-expansion engine and several rotative steam engines.

The museum is currently undertaking the restoration of its Bull Engine, which is one of only four known examples in the world, and the only engine in its original location. The Bull engine was built in 1856 and first steamed in restoration in 2006.

One of the museum's Allen Diesel engines is also on display and operated each weekend.


The steam museum is home to London's only operating steam railway. The RailGauge|24 gauge narrow gauge railway is run by the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Trust and is the home base of Hunslet 0-4-0ST "Cloister". The line runs for 400 yards around the Kew Bridge site and passenger trains are operated on Sundays during the summer months and on other special days.

The railway was inspired by similar facilities provided at major waterworks in the United Kingdom, notably the Metropolitan Water Board Railway between Hampton and the Kempton Park waterworks.


Special exhibitions take place on a number of weekends each year (see Official Website for details).

ee also

* Pumping station
* Kempton Park Steam Engines
* Metropolitan Water Board Railway


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Kew Bridge Engines Trust]
* [ Bull Engine Restoration website]
* [ Waterworks railway]
* [ Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Trust]
* [ Pictures of Kew Bridge Steam Museum]

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