Mill Meece News

18th/19th July 2021


On the afternoon of the 18th July after raising steam for the first time in 9 years the middle boiler successfully passed its "in steam" inspection and was given the thumbs up to return to service. Having put the heart back into the boiler on the Sunday before and gently raised the boiler temperature over the week Friday morning saw the fire in full blaze raising pressure.


Following the arrival of the boiler inspector in the afternoon and with a small gathering of volunteers the boiler was put through it's paces. Sight glasses were blown down and checked that they were not blocked, low water safety valve was lifted and blown off and then at 100 PSIG the dead weight safety valves were given a gently "calibrated" tap and released steam into the boiler house for the first time in 9 years. This huge mile stone brought to an end the rebuilding and re-commissioning of the boiler house and boiler.


With the warming of the boilers, the engines too saw warmth for the first time in a long time and the engine house started to smell of steam and warm oil and good times.


Then for the big test, after raising steam pressure for the second time on the Saturday morning and having oiled up the Ashton Frost engine the time came that everyone had been waiting for. The starting handle was located and the barring engine was engaged. One turn, two turns on the barring engine and then away she went, first time after 9 years with much applause. I can honestly say that there were a few with watery eyes with the emotion of the occasion. Then after a few hours of running it was time to stop the Ashton Frost. The Chairman's daughter who was 6 months old the last time the engines were in steam brought the engine to a stop with much embarrassment.


Now time for the Hathorn Davey to live again, one turn, two turns on the barring engine and oh, not quite first time. So will it be second time lucky, well no. With the added weight of the well head gear the Hathorn Davey was taking a little more effort to start. Then after a little more turning and attempted starts away she went, again to much applause.


With this successful trial steaming the Trust can now announce the date for the Grand Opening Weekend of 14th and 15th August 2021 and our remaining two other steaming weekends for this year. See our What's On page for further details.


19 November 2020

19th November 2020 was a momentus day for the Trust as it took over the finished boiler house. Yes, the work on rebuilding the boiler flues and boiler supports and reinsulating the boilers and pipework has been completed. This combined with the boiler passing its statutory inspection and pressure test brings our return to steam very close indeed.

After 9 years this is one big achievement for all and everyone is now looking forward to seeing the engines in steam. As for the Trust we still have plenty of jobs to complete to get everything ready for that first open day, but what a day it will be. Look out around March time next year for an update and to see how things are progressing.








12 February 2020 

Central Boiler Laid BareA recent inspection of the brickwork under and between the boilers has found it to be in quite a bad way in places and worse than was to be expected.

A Unique PerspectiveHowever the Trust are pleased to report that funding has been made available for the replacement and repair of this brickwork too. The walls between the boilers have already been removed and work is underway on replacing the brickwork and supports on the working steam boiler. However all three sets of boiler support bricks will be replaced with new items and the walls will be rebuilt using new bricks before the floor is finally reinstated.

This work will secure the future of the boiler house for many years to come and will mean that approximately 40,000 bricks will have been replaced in the boiler house once the project is finished, that's enough to build over 7 medium size houses.

New Damper Frame In PlaceReinstatement of a section of the floor at the back of the boiler house adjacent to the economiser has also been started.

Photos are top left: the middle boiler fully exposed; top right: a unique view of the middle and first boiler; bottom left: progress on rebuilding the back of the boiler house showing the superheaters now fully enclosed; bottom right: first of the new damper frames in place.

These are exciting times for the Trust and the work has given some unique insights into the construction of the boiler house and sights that generations will probably never see again. 

Don't forget that if you would like to recieve the occasional update and information when we are back in steam then please e-mail: and you will be added to our main group.




9 January 2020 - Our Return To Steam Draws Closer

Boiler Flue Rebuild Jan 2020In the Flue Jan 2020Work is now well underway in the boiler house and the two photos show the rebuild progress to date. Approximately 48 tonnes of old brick work and rubble were removed in order to get down to good sound material in order to begin the rebuild. The end supporting walls for the superheaters have been rebuilt and work is under way to rebuild the wall enclosing the ecconomiser.

There have been one or two surprises, the side flue walls along the length of the two outer boilers don’t actually touch the main building, their being an air gap, as there is in the partition wall between boilers. This is presumably to limit the extent of heat that the main boiler house walls and adjacent flues are subjected to. We often wondered how they managed to clean the centre boiler out given how hot the walls would be with an adjacent boiler in operation, now we know.

All new materials are well under way in terms of manufacture and will be on site in time for the rebuild program.







20 May 2018

The first open days of 2018 got the year off to a cracking start. Although the first rally of the year is dedicated to stationary engines the good weather and lure of a good cupper and a slice of cake brought many more exhibitors out than expected.

There was a very good display of stationary engines and umbrellas, but this time being used to keep the sun off those who look after their engines.

Along with the stationary engines on display there was a good selection of cars from bygone days and a fine collection of classic motorcycles.

Even the Friday night Museums at Night event had a good turn out of visitors and one or two stationary engine owners were also in attendacnce to display their engines in an evening setting.



4 September 2017 - Tribute To Bill Buckley

In the years leading up to the retirement of the steam engines at Mill Meece one mans dedication and love of the engines laid the foundations for their preservation. In February this year William Buckley or to everyone Bill sadly passed away.

This unique water pumping station and its steam engines would not be here if it was not for Bills foresight at the time of the water works original modernisation in the early 1970's to get other people and organisations interested in preserving the station.

Bill was the last station superintendent at Mill Meece and was a wealth of knowledge and expertise. He could also on special occasions be heard playing his piano accordion in the Engine House, who's acoustics always complimented the sound of the instrument.  

As a mark of respect and to remember the work that Bill did for the Trust a memorial plaque based on the Blue Plaques has been mounted adjacent to the station plaque in the Engine house. As no doubt all who new him will agree this is a fitting tribute to a great man.

The inscription on the plaque reads.





The Last Station Superintendant and Life Long Member of the Trust.

He Laid the Foundations for the Preservation of this Water Works and its Steam Engines


13 March 2016 - Out With The Old, In With The New 

After more than 30 years of corrosion there was little remaining in the way of the steel supports in the chimney flue and over the weekend a group of volunteers fitted a new set.

Mill Meece is odd in that the chimney is situated at the other side of the engine house rather than being located behind the boiler house. This results in a rather long flue, with one or two bends in it. Over the years the inside walls on these bends have started to bulge and more than 30 years ago steel support beams and trench struts were fitted to help support these areas.

Unfortunately the flue is not an ideal environment for steel components to survive in, being a very acidic atmosphere due to the soot and water present. So when the flue was recently cleaned all that was left of the original supports were some rusted remains.

A team of volunteers gathered at the station on a sunny Sunday morning and then descended in to blackness.

The remains of the old support beams were carefully removed from the walls and after sweeping up the remains off the floor new support channels and shiny new trench struts were fitted. Hopefully these will also last another 30 years before they require replacing.


February 2016 - Severn Trent Water Visit Site

Kirsty Parker and Lucy Sargent, Customer Journey Specialists, from Severn Trent Waters Customer Strategy & Experience Team visited site to have a look around and familiarise themselves with the activities of the Trust, the Station and its steam engines.

Kirsty and Lucy have been looking at the experience Severn Trent Water customers (and beyond!) receive when they go to a Severn Trent visitor site.  "We’ve been interacting with our visitors and finding out what makes their day enjoyable and promoting our other sites to them." said Kirsty. The obligatory selfie was taken by Kirsty in front of the Station before they left.

TThe Trust looks forward to working more closely with Severn Trent Water in the future.


September 2015 - Mill Meece Steps Closer To Steaming Once Again

Due to a collapsed support wall in the boiler flues Mill Meece has been unable to steam for the last three years. However the first stage of the boiler house restoration, being undertaken by Severn Trent Water, is now complete. The majority of the boiler house floor has now been lifted and the flues and passage ways under the floor have been cleaned in preparation for the next phase of restoration work to begin.

The picture on the right shows the area where the support wall had collapsed and the superheater header now being supported on props.


During the open weekend of 19th and 20th September visitors to the station will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the boiler house with the boilers fully exposed. The open weekend also includes a yesteryear rally of vintage cars motorcycles and station engines on display in the grounds of the station. The last time the station would have been in this condition was when it was built 101 years ago.


August 2015 - Picnic Time

Friends and family of the Chairman gathered at Mill Meece to enjoy the Staffordshire country side on a sunny but windy Sunday afternoon and a three course picnic.

The well maintained grounds of the station make it an ideal place to hold a picnic with friends and family especially on one of our open days when the station plays host to vintage ehibits of stationary engines, cars and motorcycles.






24 March 2015 - New Listing For Mill Meece Buildings

English Heritage has been considering amending the entry for the building on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. We can now report that this process is over and new listings have been issued for the buildings on site.

In an e-mail English Heritage stated that,

"We have taken into account all the representations made, and completed our assessment of the building. I am pleased to inform you that having considered our recommendation, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has decided to amend the entry for Engine House and Boiler House at Mill Meece Pumping Station on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The building is listed at Grade II*."

In a separate e-mail English Heritage went on to say,

"I am writing to inform you that following our assessment of the above building the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has decided to add the winch house, weigh house and weighbridge, workshop and storehouse, and gates and gate piers at Mill Meece Pumping Station to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The buildings are now listed at Grade II."

This is great news for Mill Meece and recognises the historic significance of the buildings and of course the steam engines.

September 2014 - Members Supper

Members and their family gathered in the engine house last Saturday evening, 20th September, for a social get together. The Members Supper has been a traditional way to end the steaming season ever since the Trust was formed. This year fish and Chips were the order of the day with puddings being donated by a number of members.

Unfortunately with the engines not being in steam the sound of hot metal contracting and smell of steam and oil was not present.




August 2014 - Stafford Mayor Visits StationMayor and Mayoress of Stafford 

As part of the Centenary celebrations The Worshipful the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Ray Sutherland and Mrs Frances Sutherland, visited the Pumping Station on Sunday 17th August 2014. Chairman Howard Moore showed the Mayor and Mayoress around on a guided tour which took in the Sutherland Room. On asking if the Mayor was any relation to the Duke of Sutherland the Mayor replied "sadly not".

The Mayor and Mayoress showed great interest in the work that the Trust was undertaking and spent time talking to both members of the public and the Trust.