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Listed Building record MDR10017 - Pump House at Elvaston Castle

Type and Period (2)

  • (Georgian to Late 20th Century - 1830 AD? to 1970 AD?)
  • (Georgian to Unknown - 1830 AD?)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

An unusual and possibly unique 19th century water-powered pump within a Pump House. In the mid 1830s a water supply system for the grounds at Elvaston Castle was implemented. This consisted of a waterwheel driven pump, powered by water from the lake, which supplied a header tank mounted on top of a tower in the courtyard of the Castle. The pump was manufactured by John Harrison of Derby. Water was distributed to the various gardens as well as providing fountains in the grounds and supplying the necessary hydraulic force to operate a lift in the main house. Following the purchase of the estate in 1969 by the Derby Corporation, the tower with its water tank was blown up for 'safety' reasons. The pump was dismantled in the mid 1970s for removal to Leicestershire; however the pump parts were later returned to Elvaston and were rebuilt. At the same time the waterwheel was refurbished and an attempt was made to get the system working again, although this failed. The pump house itself is rectangular, brick-built and of a curious shape, with a waterwheel mounted on the eastern side of the building surrounded by a brick wall. There would originally have been a roofed shelter over the wheel. In 2001 the building was starting to deteriorate significantly although the pump machinery appeared to be in good condition. Similarly the waterwheel appeared to be in a reasonable condition although the wooden parts needed replacing. (1) The building was designed in the early 19th century by William Barron as part of his early projects in the gardens of 1830-60 to serve as a Pump House for the lake. There is a paddle wheel to the east side. Stylistically the building is very close to Springthorpe Cottage Lodge and to the Moorish Temple, both by William Barron. The juxtaposition of the Pump House to the more conventional Boat House makes the former all the more startling, enhancing its dual purpose as eye-catcher and Pump House. Unfortunately, 20th century repairs have reduced the gable and parapet wall heights, effectively damaging the finer points of the Moorish style. (2)

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Article in serial: Bonson, T, Booth, T & Gifford, A. 2001. 'The waterpowered pump at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire', Wind & Water Mills. No. 20, pp 11-42, illust..
  • <2> Unpublished document: Hilary Taylor Landscape Associates Ltd.. 2003. Elvaston Estate: Outbuildings, Gardens and Landscape Conservation Plan (Appendices in separate vol). Appendix 4, pp 70-77.



Grid reference Centred SK 41016 33002 (6m by 5m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2622

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jan 26 2024 11:17PM

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