Just prior to the A316 becoming the M3 motorway between Sunbury-on-Thames and Hanworth you pass by the Thames Water Kempton Park Water Treatment Works.
Among the works buildings is a large one near the elevated road with two tall chimneys behind it, on which it says Metropolitan Water Board. How many people passing by have wondered what is housed in the building? I did for one, when working nearby in Feltham. The building was in a sorry condition when I passed by in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, all boarded and looking neglected.
The building and contents were given National Monument status and Grade II* listing by English Heritage, and it wasn’t until 1995 that the the Kempton Great Engines Trust was formed to restore the building and contents, and not until 2004 that the building was opened to the public.
What surprises is that the building – now known as the Kempton Steam Museum – houses two huge triple-expansion steam engines. At 62 feet/19 metres in height and weighing over a 1000 tons the engines are colossal. They were installed in the Art Deco building in 1928, and were in constant use until 1980, when the engine house closed.
The building is open every Tuesday and Thursday, though the No 6 engine is in steam only on THESE DAYS. We stopped by for tea and cake last Saturday. Here are my photos of our visit.