A MAJOR £700,000 project to restore a two centuries-old canal pumping station in Soulbury is under way.
The work is being carried out by the Canal & River Trust with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund who are contributing £391,100 to bring the historic building back into use.
Using specialist heritage techniques, teams from the trust, including heritage apprentices, will repair and rebuild the roof and brick walls, replace guttering and underpin the rear wall. New doors and windows, in keeping with the character of the building, will also be installed.
Built in 1838 and listed Grade II, the station also houses a pump which plays a vital role in keeping the Grand Union Canal open and is one of a series located along the canal. Without these pumps, the canal would run out of water during the busy summer boating season.
James Clifton, from the Canal & River Trust, said; “Soulbury Three Locks Pumping Station has been helping to keep the Grand Union Canal topped up for almost 180 years and it is wonderful to think that a structure dating back to the year Queen Victoria was crowned is still being used today.
“The Canal & River Trust is delighted that, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are able to restore this important part of Britain’s working heritage.”
Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this piece of canal heritage will be restored for generations to come. Once finished the building will provide a base for a local craftsman, giving it a new lease of life, after being empty for so many years.”