Plans of Papplewick Pumping Station, Nottinghamshire, 1879-1947

Scope and Content

The collection comprises plans of buildings and apparatus of Papplewick Pumping Station.

Of the former, there are floor plans and elevations of the engine and boiler house, stokers' cottage, chimney, sheds and workshops. Details of windows, doors and roofs for these buildings are also present.

Plans of apparatus in the collection include: diagrams of engines and pumping equipment (and their components), the cooling pond, and pipes.

About three quarters of the plans predate 1920 and relate mainly to the original construction and equipment of the pumping station. The later plans deal more with repairs and the erection of temporary buildings. Only about two thirds of the plans are dated but the plan number sequence seems to be roughly chronological.

Most of the plans have previous references written on them, these have been noted in the catalogue.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1879, a reservoir was built near to the Nottinghamshire village of Papplewick by the Nottingham Waterworks Company to store water from its Bestwood Waterworks. In the same year, the Corporation of Nottingham took over undertakings of privately owned water companies by act of Parliament at a time when improvement in the amount and quality of water for the people and businesses of rapidly expanding Nottingham was of great concern. In 1884, the Corporation completed the construction of Papplewick Pumping Station near to the reservoir on land purchased from Andrew Montagu. The station was driven by two beam engines made by James Watt and Co. The construction of the station involved the installation of boilers made by Galloway and a cooling pond. The station pumped 1.5 million gallons per engine per year.

Despite the many technological advancements in pumping stations since 1884, Papplewick Pumping Station's steam driven Watt engines remained in service until 1969 when the engines were replaced by electric pumps to reduce costs. In the same year, the pumping station was placed on standby service and it was finally closed in 1973. It was replaced by a completely new electric pump house.

The physical condition of the redundant Papplewick Pumping Station deteriorated but was rescued by a charitable trust which was granted a lease from Nottingham City Council. A volunteers' group, the Papplewick Association, first met in 1975 and was initially set up to preserve the engines. It completed much restoration work: overhauling the machinery and cleaning out the cooling pond. The pumping station was first opened to the public on 15 April 1976. Construction of new accommodation for visitor and volunteer facilities designed by architects Cullen, Carter and Hill began in 1991 at the same time as the release of a funding prospectus to encourage 250,000 pounds of investment into the project. In 2002, the Heritage Lottery Fund granted 1.6 million pounds for restoration, conservation and improved facilities.


The collection has been arranged into three series:

PPS/1 consists of plans concerned with the building and structures at Papplewick Pumping Station.

PPS/2 covers plans of the houses erected for stokers and the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent in charge of the pumping station.

PPS/3 contains plans relating to the machinery for the pumping station.

Within each series the arrangement is broadly chronological, although some similar plans have been grouped together.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue, 43 pp

On the World Wide Web: Online catalogue available from the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in May 2001.

Related Material

Records of the City of Nottingham Water Department are held in Manuscripts and Special Collections (Ref: R/HR)