New Displays to the East & West Engine Houses
The history of the waterworks at Kew Bridge is a long one, starting back in 1836 and is still ongoing to this day. However it forms part of another story which began at Paddington in 1798 where the Grand Junction Canal Company started to pump their water for domestic use via a network of pipes and one of the first uses of steam power.
New displays to the East & West Engine Houses will show how the Grand Junction Water Works were established and became one of the most vilified water supply undertakings of the day. Having poisoned and killed people by pumping the heavily polluted canal waters into their homes, they moved to Chelsea in 1820 and using new Boulton & Watt engines took a new supply from the Thames instead. This soon proved unsuitable, due to being positioned alongside the outfall of the Ranelagh Sewer and following a public campaign and questions in Parliament they finally moved their undertakings to Kew, sowing the seeds of changes in legislation to protect Londoners and their water supply.
They brought the Boulton & Watt engines with them, installed new ones specially made by Maudslay & Harvey, and appointed new engineers to 'clean up' their image, building one of the first large scale treatment works several years before it became compulsory under law. Audio presentations, images and text will explain these dramatic developments highlighting the rapid expansion of London's population and the engineers' struggle to keep up with rising demand.