Kempton Park Pumping Station


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1001977

Date first listed: 27-Nov-1981


Ordnance survey map of Kempton Park Pumping Station
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Hounslow (London Borough)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: TQ1101170854


Kempton Park Pumping Station, 707m north-east of Synchro House.

Reasons for Designation

Steam engines, housed in engine houses, were used throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to pump water out of mine shafts. The first practical steam-powered engine was patented by Thomas Savery in 1698. It was powered by a vacuum created by condensing steam within a cylinder and was used to pump water out of mines and at pumping stations. In 1712, Thomas Newcomen created the first commercially successful engine, which could be used to drain mine shafts at far greater depths.

In the later 18th century, James Watt introduced major improvements. These included a separate condensing chamber for the steam engine, patented in 1769, which prevented enormous losses of steam. In the early 19th century, high pressure steam engines were developed, which provided more power yet were small enough to be implemented into modes of transport. The steam engine was a foundation stone of the industrial revolution in Britain and was widely used to drive machinery in factories and mills, power pumping stations, trains and ships. Steam continued as a dominant power source into the 20th century, after which it was eventually substituted by the electric motor and internal combustion engine.

Kempton Park Pumping Station is very well preserved and retains the two largest steam pumping engines in Europe. There are now very few surviving examples of this type. It is a site of considerable significance and represents the apogee of the steam-powered water pumping engine house. As a monument accessible to the public it is a valuable educational and recreational resource.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 September 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes an early 20th century engine house, boiler house and two chimneys of a water pumping station. It is situated east of Country Way at Kempton Park, Hanworth. The engine house is rectangular in plan with a parallel rear boiler house to the east, and rear chimney connected to a matching chimney of Kempton Park I pumping house. The single storey building is constructed of red brick and stone ashlar with a hipped slate roof. It is in Baroque Revival style with tall round-arched windows and an attic level with a central panel inscribed ‘METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD’ with three rectangular windows each side. The main (west) façade is symmetrical and of seven bays with a banded rusticated plinth, cornice and coped parapet. At either end are massive clasping buttresses with paired pilasters and in the centre is a large projecting ashlar porch. The north and south sides of the engine house have central doorways, three narrow windows and two attic windows. The interior is tiled with green pilasters to the gantry crane and a walkway round on steel modillion brackets. It contains a pair of in-situ Worthington Simpson triple expansion engines at either end, which stand about 19m high. In the central open basement area are brass lamps made from parts of an 1812 Boulton and Watt parallel motion beam engine. It also houses a pair of steam turbines by Fraser and Chalmers, which were added in 1933, and an original electrical control board. To the rear of the engine house is a pair of octagonal chimney stacks with square bases and cornices.

Kempton Park Pumping Station was built between about 1897 and 1906, originally for the New River Company. The company was acquired by the Metropolitan Water Board in 1902. It supplied North London with drinking water taken from the River Thames. This part of the station was constructed in about 1929 to the design of Henry Stilgoe, Chief Engineer for the Metropolitan Water Board, and built by William Moss. It was described at one time as the largest concentration of steam engine power in Europe. In 1963, it employed 144 men and delivered 86 million gallons of water per day. The Worthington engines weigh 800 tons and provided 1008hp. They are thought to be the largest of the type ever built. At one time about a third of the waterworks in England used this type of pumping engine. However the pair at Kempton were the last working examples at the time of closure in 1980. They pumped water to the primary filter house and service reservoirs.

Kempton Park Pumping Station is Grade II* listed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: LO 153

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


, accessed from
Greater London SMR MLO85638, MLO85811. NMR TQ17SW7. PastScape 398094. LBS 440279.,

End of official listing