Pump Up The (Water) Volume – 3d Laser Scan of Pump Station

Smethwick Pump Station

3d Laser Scan of Smethwick Pump Station

In May 1779, manufacturer Mathew Boulton (1728 – 1809) and Engineer James Watt (1736 – 1809) combined to create the Smethwick Steam Engine. Originally one of two engines used to pump water back up to the 491 ft summit level of the BCN Old Main Line (Birmingham) canal at Smethwick, located near the Soho Foundry where it was constructed. A second engine was located at the opposite end of the summit level in Spon Lane.

The engines were required as local water sources were inadequate in supplying the necessary water required to operate the six locks either side of the canal’s original summit.

Smethwick Pump Station

The 3d Laser Scan Creates Unique Views of the Pump Station

In the 1820s, Thomas Telford designed and constructed a new lower level canal parallel to the existing one, creating at the time the largest man-made earthworks in the world. This lower level canal was spanned by the Galton Bridge.

Despite both of these developments, the engines were still required, and Thomas Telford constructed the Engine Arm Aqueduct carrying the Engine Arm branch canal over his New Main Line in order for coal to be transported along the arm to feed the Smethwick Engine.

In 1892, the original Smethwick Engine was deemed uneconomic to operate and maintain and so a new replacement engine was constructed in a new pumping house (now Grade II listed) located next to Brasshouse Lane, which now forms part of the nearby Galton Valley Canal Museum.

Smethwick Pump Station

The Black Circles Indicate the Positions of the Laser Scanner

The original Smethwick Engine, which is the oldest working engine in the world, was firstly relocated to British Waterways Ocker Hill depot where it remained until being acquired by Birmingham City Council. The engine is now sited at the Thinktank Science Museum at Millennium Point in Birmingham and is the oldest working engine in the world.

The original engine house was demolished in 1897. Its original site and foundations can still be seen on Bridge Street North in Smethwick, just north of the junction with Rolfe Street.

EA have carefully 3d laser scanned the existing grade II listed Pump Station so The Black Country now have a 3d computer model archive of this historical industrial building.

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