The Great Engine House Project

by London Museum of Water & Steam in Brentford, Greater London, United Kingdom

The Great Engine House Project

Total raised £7,100

Gift Aid
+ est. £1345.00
£50,000 target 23 days left
14% 62 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 16th August 2024 at 10:14am

Without urgent funding, the largest working beam engine in the world, our 90 inch, will be lost. You can help us sustain it for the future!

Project by London Museum of Water & Steam

Who are we? 

Described by DCMS as “the most important historic site of the water supply industry in Britain” the London Museum of Water & Steam (LMWS) shares the history, science and the stories behind London’s public water supply.

Housed in a Georgian water pumping station in Brentford, West London, the museum is built around a collection of steam engines which pumped clean water into the homes of millions of Londoners between 1838 and 1944. 


However, without donations to fund conservation, The Great Engine House and the engines it contains could be lost forever.  We are asking urgently for your support to save these pieces of London's history.

Why is The Great Engine House so important? 


The Great Engine House is a Grade I listed engine house, which is home to the gigantic Grand Junction 100 Inch and 90 Inch engines. Both three stories high, these marvels of Victorian engineering were built powerful enough to supply water to areas of London as far as Notting Hill and Kensington, and to the upper floors in buildings – helping to transform London into the multi-story city it is today. The 90 Inch was installed in 1846 and ran daily for over 100 years and the 100 Inch was on standby until 1954. Today the 90 Inch is one of the largest working beam engines of its type in the world! 


Our challenge

A funding and maintenance backlog has led to severe degradation of the 100 Inch and 90 Inch engines, and the Grade 1 listed Great Engine House. Covid lockdowns have accelerated the damage, due to a lack of people available to maintain the site coupled with little ventilation while closed, and the need for expensive scaffolding that we haven't been able to afford.

A recent site survey identified the Engine House as the priority building and a costed, full building condition survey shows a leaking roof structure, dry rot, blown and spalling render, corroded window frames and cracked glass, collapsed storm drains, loose plaster and paint finishes, and both engines are actively corroding and contain encapsulated asbestos lagging.



Why now?

Unless work is undertaken in the next two years to stop this decay these historically significant machines could be lost, and central parts of the museum building will be closed off.

Access to clean water is more important than ever, with London being number nine on the list of global cities most likely to run out of water. Our site and our engines are crucial to telling the story of London’s journey from deadly to clean drinking water and encourages visitors to consider their role in environmental sustainability and the preservation of water in an increasingly uncertain future. 


What needs to be done?

Our proposed project will conserve our historic engines, the 90 Inch and 100 Inch, and the Grade 1 listed Great Engine House building.

The project will:

  • Return the building to a watertight condition
  • Reduce carbon emissions and other pollutant effects
  • Remove damaging past repairs
  • Conserve the engines and improve environmental conditions
  • Improve accessibility
  • Remove asbestos containing materials 

The project will be the first step in returning the 90 Inch to steam, which will make us more financially resilient and vastly enhance the museum’s visitor experience. Our efforts to preserve this important piece of heritage also creates a sense of pride and engagement within the local community.


How can you help?

As a charity, we rely on the generosity of supporters who believe the UK's rich heritage is worth protecting. 

We are at an advanced stage of receiving a funding grant for the entire project of £2.8 million, however, we will need to raise a percentage of the grant through crowdfunding.

We need your help to raise £50,000 by mid-August.

Can you help us reach our target and save this historic landmark for the local community and for future generations?



As we are a small team we are unable to deliver all the physical rewards to home addresses. You will be able to pick up all physical rewards at the museum after the end of the project. If you would like your reward delivered this will need to be arranged over email once the crowdfunder is over and additional delivery costs will apply.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£10 or more

Name on our online roll of honour

As a thank you, your name will feature on a dedicated page on our website for the duration of the project.

£15 or more

6 of 100 claimed

Pin Badge

Display your pride for the museum with a dedicated pin badge as a thank you for your donation + your name on our online roll of honour.

£30 or more

3 of 50 claimed

Mini Piper Cuddly Toy

Have your own mini version of our museum cat - Piper - at home! Plus receive a pin badge and your name will be featured on our online roll of honour.

£40 or more

1 of 20 claimed

Engine Driver Set

Become a Kew Bridge engine driver with this set that includes a cap and whistle! Fun for all ages! Plus receive a pin badge and feature on our online roll of honour.

£50 or more

4 of 100 claimed

Museum Mug

Sip tea from a beautifully designed London Museum of Water & Steam mug. Plus receive a pin badge and your name featured on our online roll of honour.

£100 or more

1 of 50 claimed

50% off an annual membership (individual)

Get 50% off an individual annual membership to the museum. Plus receive a mug and a pin badge + your name will feature on our online roll of honour.

£100 or more

0 of 20 claimed

Two places on a guided tour of the museum

A place for yourself and a guest of your choosing on a guided tour of the museum with one of our experts (with a maximum of 10 people on the tour).

£500 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Ride on the footplate of the Thomas Wicksteed!

One of our exclusive experiences on offer. Ride on the footplate of our small locomotive the Thomas Wicksteed and receive a certificate upon completion.

£500 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Start an engine at a Steam Up!

One of our exclusive rewards on offer. Experience the power of Victorian engineering for yourself by starting an engine on one of our Steam Up days and receive a certificate upon completion.

£500 or more

1 of 5 claimed

Behind-the-scenes tour of museum with expert

One of our exclusive rewards on offer. Receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum with expert Richard Albanese with yourself and a maximum of four other guests of your choosing.

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