Wombourne & The Bratch

One of the most notable buildings in Wombourne is the old pumping station in the area known as "The Bratch".

The Bratch Pumping Station

The Bratch Pumping Station was built by Bilston Urban District Council Waterworks Company in 1895 at a cost of £6,133. It was designed by Baldwin Lathan of Westminster and began supplying water to Bilston in 1896.

Bilston Water Works - 1895

The pumping station is constructed of Ruabon red brick with blue brick banding, and a stepped pattern of buff and blue bricks decorating the panels above and between the windows. Four ornamental turrets (bartizans) rise from the corners of the building.

Gothic towers!

The building houses two triple expansion vertical steam engines; number one engine called "Victoria" (because it was formally opened in Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee year) and number two "Alexandra".

Inside the pump house.

The engines were built by Thornewill and Warham of Burton--on-Trent. Each engine capable of raising one million gallons of water in 20 hours from the boreholes on which they are positioned. It was normal practice to run only one engine at a time.

The engines raised water from two wells 150 feet deep with oblique boreholes passing down a further 600 feet into the Bunter Sandstone beds below. The wells are brick lined and tarred.

Well heads beneath "Victoria"

The engines were finally shut down in 1960 and fell into disrepair, prior to Severn Trent Water commissioning major refurbishment of the building and "Victoria" from 1991-1996.

The restoration of "Victoria" was undertaken by Mr. Leonard Crane of Wolverhampton.

The Bratch pumping station in full steam!