The engine house contains two steam engines of massive proportions. The engines and ram pumps are over 90ft long and are of similar design.
Why was steam plant chosen for Mill Meece?
Diesel and gas were being used for water pumping by the end of the 19th century. It is evident from the specification inviting tenders that the Company were intent on installing steam plant. They knew what performance and type of engine they wished to install, as a result of their obvious satisfaction with the horizontal compound tandem rotative engine as installed at Hatton in 1907.
Steam still had the following advantages over other types of engine at the time;
1. Cheaper fuel
2. Greater reliability, therefore requiring less duplicate plant for standby.
3. Easier starting 'though not from cold.
4. Greater flexibility and maintained efficiency at different operating speeds.
5. Long life, 25 years plus, with no loss of efficiency.
6. Low noise levels.
7. Independent of outside sources of power. The engines were required to pump 2 million gallons of water per day from a well and to deliver to an existing reservoir, through a rising main, 4 miles against a total head of 530ft for six days a week 24 hours a day.
The photograph shows the older steam engine manufactured by Ashton Frost on the right, which was installed in 1914. The left hand steam engine supplied by Hathorn Davey was installed in 1927. The steam engines are handed such that the controls of both are facing the centre of the engine house.
To read the story of how the Hathorn Davey steam engine was installed click here.
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