Thames Water donates to save heritage site 'Cathedral on the Marsh'

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Thames Water has helped save Crossness Pumping Station by providing £250,000 for essential repair work.

One of the company’s most treasured heritage sites, the Grade I listed building, known as the ‘The Cathedral on the Marsh’, was threatened with closure unless £450,000 was raised to remove asbestos from the iconic Beam Engine House.

By covering more than half the cost, Thames Water has helped Crossness Engines Trust secure the future of the historic building, which features spectacular ornamental Victorian cast ironwork and four original pumping engines. 

Funds were also contributed by Cory Environmental and Historic England, meaning the building can fully reopen in 2019 having had restricted opening since March this year.

Rosemary Waugh, corporate responsibility manager at Thames Water, said: “Crossness pumping station is an important part of Thames Water’s heritage, and the Crossness Engines Trust, along with many of our other partners, do a fantastic job of looking after our historic buildings and telling the story of what we do.  The £250,000 we’ve donated will help reopen this much-loved and iconic building, and we’re looking forward to next year so that people can once again enjoy its rich and interesting history.”

It is hoped the public will be able to enjoy the site once again in time for celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, in March. The Victorian engineer designed the pumping station as part of the solution to London’s sewage crisis in the 19th century.

Volunteers from The Crossness Engines Trust run the site, which is funded through grants and charitable donations. Pippa Catterall, chair of the Trust said: “The discovery of asbestos has been a real challenge for us, coming at a time when the Trust was completing a major project and looking forward to a successful future. 2019 is a very significant year for Crossness Pumping Station – marking the 200th anniversary of Joseph Bazalgette’s birth. 

“Now that the building has been saved, celebrations are being planned - the financial support from Thames Water and Cory and the continued support and guidance of Historic England, has provided a very generous early birthday present!”

As part of its record £11.7 billion business plan for 2020-25, Thames Water aims to actively promote more of its heritage sites, including enabling increased access to another of its historic pumping stations, Abbey Mills.

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