top of page


14th May 2024

Our impressive chimney is about to be repointed, and today was the start of the scaffolding for this. This is a big job, and we are most grateful to Southern Water for arranging this, as part of their responsibility for the Waterworks. 

The work will take around three months to complete. Access to the Team Room and toilets is not affected, and it's business as usual for our Open Days and tours.

7th May 2024

We’ve had a great start to our Open Day season again this year! Despite the variable weather, we welcomed almost 1000 people over the two days on 5th and 6th May, and everyone who came had an enjoyable time. There certainly was something for everyone with vintage cars, tractors, traction engines and steam rollers on display, our Hathorn Davey engine and boiler, diesel engines, the Lime Kiln incline, and the Industrial Railway all being demonstrated, plus the Wildlife Trail and pond dipping to enjoy. The Tea Room and BBQ worked flat out again, and our car park and admissions Kiosk were kept busy both days. We were also delighted to be able to offer Guided Tours again, and these were very popular. If you came to visit, or worked hard as a volunteer, thank you!

5th May 2024

Congratulations to our renowned Tea Room and BBQ which have each been awarded a top rating of 5 for Food Hygiene.

1st May 2024

There's always a 1001 things to do to keep the Waterworks in good condition for everyone to enjoy! As soon as the last Open Day of the year was over in 2023, our team of volunteers swung into action with an extensive Winter Work Programme.

Together we've been tackling all the work needed to ensure that the Waterworks is ready for our many visitors in 2024 - ensuring that the Babcock boiler and Hathorn Davey steam engine will be working again, overhauling various internal combustion engines, continuing the restoration of the Lister narrow gauge railway locomotive that we have on loan from Hereford Waterworks Museum, giving the meadows their annual  cut and rake, clearing the pond, replacing sleepers on the Kiln Railway, decorating inside buildings, carrying out the annual electrical PAT testing, purchasing new marquees and gazebos, tackling all the administration behind the scenes and all manner of other tasks. All carried out by our 100% voluntary team of volunteers!

There's always something for everyone, and, if you feel that becoming a volunteer at Twyford Waterworks is for you, why not contact us - we'll be pleased to see you and welcome you into our team!

Twyford Waterworks Trust is delighted to announce that their 1906 Babcock and Wilcox water tube boiler and 1914 Hathorn Davey triple expansion steam pumping engine successfully passed their steam tests on 23rd August 2017 after a long period of restoration funded by Heritage Lottery Fund as part of our ambitious 'Return to Steam' Project. This major milestone, with the boiler work completed by H A McEwen (Boiler Repairs) Ltd and the engine work carried out by the Trust's own volunteers, moves the Trust forward significantly with its goal of returning the Waterworks to steam. With a number of tasks still to complete a period of testing and training is now planned, followed by a celebration for Friends of the Waterworks later in the season.

Regular public steamings will be launched in early 2018. 

Our Return to Steam Project 

When Twyford Waterworks Trust was formed in 1992 a main aim was to restore one of the unique Babcock & Wilcox water-tube boilers to working order, and to steam the Hathorn Davey triple expansion pumping engine. This was achieved in 1996, and the Trust then steamed the boiler and engine at main Open Days until October 2003.

As a result of the Asbestos Act 2002 our landlords, Southern Water, adopted a policy of zero tolerance to asbestos on operational sites, which included Twyford Waterworks. Although totally contained, the boilers were identified as containing asbestos and the Trust was instructed to stop steaming, after which the boilers were sealed in polythene.

In 2006 the Trust and Southern Water worked together to determine a way to remove the asbestos in the boilers whilst allowing restoration back to working order. The asbestos was then removed, but this also involved the removal and disposal of all the boiler brickwork, a total of 45,000 bricks. During this process the boilers were photographed and measured so that they could be restored at a later date. The work was funded by Southern Water and cost £200,000.

The Trust developed an ambitious Return to Steam Project during 2009. Twyford has one of the most complete boiler houses left in terms of its equipment, and it is unique in having a rank of three Babcock & Wilcox WIF water tube boilers. The boiler house itself gives a huge insight into Edwardian technology as it contains two sets of steam boiler feed pumps and a steam driven d.c. generator. The plan included the restoration of all of this back to original condition together with the Hathorn Davey engine of 1914 in the adjacent engine house, so that visitors could experience first-hand the ‘high tech’ facilities of 100 years ago. Of the three boilers one would be returned to steam, one would be cosmetically restored while the third would form an impressive cut away backdrop to a new education area, with interpretative displays explaining a range of subjects from how things work through to life and conditions at the waterworks in Edwardian times. Passing on skills and training new volunteers is something that every heritage centre has to take seriously and a new workshop would enable the Trust to do this, thereby keeping the site alive for many years to come. Finally attention would be given to extending the toilet facilities to bring these in line with the planned increase in visitor numbers.

The Project was given a huge boost in June 2010 when the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded the Trust a Development Grant of £63,300 to enable it to fully evaluate the work required.

The project development phase was completed successfully and an application to HLF for a main award was submitted in March 2012. This was successful and HLF awarded the Trust £819,600, some 90% of the total expected cost of all the works. Contractors then commenced work, but the discovery of further asbestos in the Boiler House and the need to find an additional sum of over £60,000 to remove this, led to work being delayed until 2014.

Recognising the need for serious repairs to the main buildings, Southern Water agreed to carry out major roof repairs and external redecoration. This commenced in September 2013 and was completed to a very high standard in May 2014 at a cost of £600,000.

Since 2014 the project has moved forward, and it is envisaged that it will be completed in 2017. The working 1906 boiler has been partially re-riveted, all the water tubes and superheater tubes have been replaced, and it has passed the hydraulic test. The intricate boiler brickwork has been carefully copied and replaced. The middle 1903 boiler has been cosmetically restored, again with new brickwork, whilst the 1916 boiler now forms an impressive backdrop to the ‘Discovery Zone’ area. The Discovery Zone is now the starting point for visitors where they can find out all about the Waterworks before following trails around the buildings and the wider site, all linked with new interpretative panels. Our award winning animation film, made in 2013 with help from Twyford Primary School, can also be viewed here. Elsewhere the interiors of the buildings have been rewired and redecorated, the toilets have been rebuilt and now include disabled facilities, and the new workshop is a hive of activity as Trust volunteers continue the restoration and maintenance of the site.

All of this is great testament to our contractors, and especially to our dedicated volunteers. Alongside the practical work a vast amount of administration has been carried out, and all together the work has transformed Twyford Waterworks into a leading museum in Southern England.

Work on the boiler will be completed in early 2017, and following acceptance by Southern Water the Trust is expecting to return to steam, thus bringing to an end a huge achievement by a small and determined voluntary group.

Graham Feldwick, December 2016

bottom of page