The Museum features a magnificent original steam-powered Victorian sewage works pumping beam engine dating from 1888, in its original engine house – both have Grade II Heritage Listing. The engine still operates under steam. The Museum is surrounded by the remains of the original sewage works in, what is now, Markfield Park, alongside the River Lee. The site was used as a sewage treatment works from as early as 1852, and is one of the earliest examples of a local community sewage treatment facility in the UK.
The Markfield Beam Engine & Museum is managed by a Charitable Trust Company Limited by Guarantee, which was Incorporated in 1984. The Museum is run by a Board of Trustees, with a team of volunteers (including the Board members) – there are no paid staff. Our Vision and Strategic Aim: “To develop, complete the restoration and promote, the original Markfield Sewage Treatment Works site, its beam engine and premises and displays, as a unique part of Tottenham and wider engineering and public health heritage.” Our Values: • Engineering: – engendering the excitement and importance of conserving and preserving a unique working steam engine and sewage treatment works for all. • Educating: - encouraging local pride and wider community enjoyment and interest and understanding in an openly available heritage facility. • Engaging: - enveloping the enthusiastic involvement of volunteers in a friendly team able to provide informed and sustainable operation and development of the beam engine and museum. The Trust recognises that its audience appeal is local, and potentially London and nation-wide. Over the last 5 years, the Trust has explored how the development and sustainability of the Museum might be achieved. We are developing a long-term business plan to move us from our current more limited circumstances so that we can fully present a unique example of our engineering and public health heritage for all to enjoy.
The Museum features a magnificent double-acting steam-powered 100 h.p. Victorian sewage pumping beam engine, with a unique classically decorated eight column framework.in its original engine hall (both Grade II Listed), built between 1886 and 1888 by Yorkshire engineers Wood Bros.. The engine hall and beam engine were restored in 2009. The Museum’s Unique Selling Points include: • Local museum in a well-used park, enjoyed by people who take a pride in Tottenham and its heritage and cultural assets • Free entry except for booked activities or some events (donations are invited and encouraged!) • Fully operational engine, powered by steam (from oil-fired boilers); pumps remain in working order in the basement • Personal links with people who worked (and lived) at the sewage works; human stories • Rare survivor of an early Local Board sewage works (with associated potential below-ground archaeology), one of similar plants which sprang up all over what is now Greater London in the late 19th century following the 1848 Public Health Act. All but Markfield have been swept away by urban development The Museum is open to the public to view the engine and displays on designated days throughout the year, and on a number of ‘Steam Days’ between April and September. It is also possible to tour the surrounding Victorian sewage works site in Markfield Park. Museum displays illustrate the history of sewage treatment, and tells the story of the Tottenham site and the engine. There are some associated engineering and public health artefacts and items for sale (including a booklet on the history of the site and engine). Hiring & Sponsoring - contact the Museum for details about hiring the Museum for events, filming & photoshoots, or sponsoring a Steam Day. Other premises (under separate ownership and operation) share the immediate area of the Museum – the Markfield Project is a community centre which is housed in one of the former Sewage Works buildings; a new café and externally accessed public toilets and garden landscaping. There is some limited visitor parking.
Our visitors broadly fall into 3 types – local people and families visiting the park and cafe, passing walkers and cyclists from the adjoining River Lee towpath, who seek out the Museum, and special interest (e.g. steam/ engineering/ heritage) enthusiasts. They come from local areas, across London and the south east, and sometimes from across the country and abroad. Visitors can step back in time - to the age of steam - hear the hiss of steam, the smell of hot oil, watch the mesmerising motion of the engine! Our visitors tell us that they thoroughly enjoy seeing the engine, and also the informed friendly volunteers who respond to visitors’ questions and provide interesting informal guided tours catering for the varying needs of different audiences.
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