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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 6: Turn on the Waterworks

Yesterday on the way home I went to the very big effort of buying an official London 2012 map which has the whole Olympic torch relay route marked in it (picture attached). I say effort because it was 11.30pm and I was buying it from a petrol station that wasn’t open, so I had to loudly direct the not very good English speaking cashier to the correct one, lots of exasperation and me going red ensued. Finally though I got it and now I can add pictures of the route to the blog every day, exciting!

When I looked at the live location of the torch on day 6 of my 70 day blog series I found it heading towards Hereford. I haven’t featured any museums on the Alternative Brown Sign Olympic Torch Relay yet so when I saw a Waterworks Museum there, who on their website advise visitors to “follow the brown heritage signs from the A49” to find them, I was interested.

This museum is a Victorian water pumping station that was originally built in Leominster a few miles down the road to supply the town with water from the gorgeous Wye river. The pumping station was due to be demolished after it had stood abandoned after pumping it’s final pump in 1952 but was saved and moved by the museum trust to Hereford in the late ’70s (nice work all you heritage preservers, I think you’re all bloody ace). Now it’s a museum packed full of engineering and machinery relating to the mechanics of supplying us all with water and don’t I absolutely love like finding out about how things work, especially things we all take for granted like how water magically comes out of our taps whenever we turn them on and this is clearly the perfect place to find out how.

The museum is very proud of the collection they hold there, here’s a little bit from the website “the museum┬áhouses the oldest working triple-expansion steam pumping engine in the UK. It stands two-floors high and is quite awesome in operation. This engine was capable of pumping one million gallons per day and supplied Hereford with water from 1895 onwards, being last used for real in 1952. Its steam plant, a Lancashire boiler, remains on static display”. Just brilliant. I want to go there immediately and see the amazing feats the Victorians and everyone else since did to make it possible that water could be pumped from rivers to our houses without us even having the slightest clue how. Nice work you stealthy pumpers.

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