Water pump uncovered in the grounds of Walton Gardens
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered a water pump – possibly unique – in the grounds of Walton Gardens.
Members of Priestley Field Archaeology Group (PFAG) carried out a three-year excavation on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, which owns the land.
This was after a gardener discovered the chamber in 2000 while digging a flowerbed, which caused a large hole to appear that gave way to an underground room containing a large cast iron wheel and a cylindrical tank.
The council wanted to know what the machinery was used for and if it could provide any information about Walton Hall and its estate, which was built in the mid 1830s for the Greenall brewing family.
PFAG, who worked on the site from 2003 to 2005, found a space that was 18 feet by nine feet and blocked by mud and rubble.
After painstakingly clearing some 20 tons of soil they found the iron wheel resting on a plinth, next to a smaller wheel and came to the conclusion that it was a water pump.
The group believe the pump, which could only have operated with a supply of gas, used to serve Walton Hall and its estate, which was home to prize livestock.
This was after PFAG discovered a bill, passed in 1899, “to make further provision to the water supply of the borough of Warrington” because of its expanding population.
In addition to these proposals it stated: “Provisions for the benefit of Sir Gilbert Greenall of the Walton Hall Estate.
“The corporation shall supply to Walton Hall House such amount of water for domestic purposes as the owner may require and sufficient watering places for cattle.”
Dave Hesketh, a PFAG member who spent five years researching the pump, likely to have been in use from 1892 to 1903, before producing a booklet about it, said: “This is a significant industrial find and it is helpful in terms of social history. It was a good engineering solution for a big estate and we’ve never found any record of anything else like this.