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Introduction

In March 1993 I arranged a visit to the King George V pumping station at Chingford. The pumping station was built to lift water from the River Lee into the newly constructed reservoir. The building housed 5 pumps, 4 rated at 40 million gallons per day, and one rated at 20 milion gallons per day. This pumping station was opened with great ceremony on March 13th 1913 by King George V. The pumps were decommissioned on 1968. I understand that the building is listed, but the pumps are not and two have been removed so that modern pumps can use the existing pipe work.

The front entrance to the pump house. The corner towers are also the exhaust outlets. The building at the far right with the columns hides the vertical sections of play pipe.
Front entrance


Inside the pump house looking back to the main entrance. The pump cylinder heads are in pits. At the far left can be seen the air compressor used for starting, and on the opposite walls are the large round gas bags.
Interior


My friend Bernard Foot is inspecting one of the large cylinder heads. The pair of large pipes are for gas and the central opening is for the scavenge air.
Inspecting cylinder head


A closer view of one of the large cylinder heads. The cylinder bore is 7 feet! The inner ring of valves are for the scavenge air, the middle ring are for the gas/air mixture and the outer ring of valves supply air for mixing with the gas. The two radial rods on the left are what is left of the valve interlock gear, there should 8 of these going around the cylinder head. Between the radial rods can be seen a valve wheel, which I suspect is the air starting valve.
Cylinder head closeup


A close up of one of the exhaust valves, clearly showing the interlock machanism. The actuating rod is connected to its corresponding radial rod above via a bell crank.
Exhaust valve


The ignition switch, which appears to be a simple piston and cylinder arrangement.
Ignition switch


A still life of industrial decay!
Still life


The vertical sections of play pipe.
Play pipe


The ornate structure hiding the play pipes.
Play pipe building


The outlet pipes to the reservoir.
Outlet pipes