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Pinchbeck Marsh Pumping Station




The Pinchbeck Marsh Pumping Station and house were built in 1833. The Station drained the whole of Pinchbeck and part of Spalding and was vital to their existence. It was run for an average of 180 days per year from mid October to mid May. The volume of water drained per year varied between 1,093,000 and 3,690,000 tons. The water was pumped into the Blue Gowt outfall and then to the River Glen at Surfleet Reservoir. Mr. Charles Seymour, who was appointed Superintendent of the Spalding and Pinchbeck Drainage Board in 1909, manned the engine, which in flood time ran continuously for weeks at a time. This engine was the last of its type to work in the Fens, most of them had disappeared in the 1920’s. Mr. Seymour was taken on at a wage of £2.00 per week, with a house to live in, which was quite primitive, with no water laid on, it was pumped up from a cistern and was filtered for drinking. Heating was by coal and lighting by paraffin and candles. Mr. Seymour often had to work for 16 hours at a time. He was in charge of all the Boards drains in the area, setting on gangs of workmen, negotiating rates of pay, paying out, and keeping records of levels, and other book-keeping. He did have an assistant at the station – Jack Maddison. One of the jobs that these men had to do each Summer was to crawl up the flues of the large boiler to clean them out. They would perhaps take a fortnight to complete this dirty task. Each day they could be seen standing in a tin bath in the yard scrubbing each other down. Edith Seymour, Charles wife, was a tremendous worker by his side, looking after a family of three children and the house, which had a beautiful large garden attached to it. Whist Drives were held there, the villagers from Pinchbeck walking across the fields. Very often vegetables and flowers were sold to the players from out of the garden to supplement funds and also to raise money for the local nursing association. Edith reared chickens and ducks which were also sold. Charles retired in 1952 at the age of 76 years. The Beam Engine also ceased working then. It is now kept as a museum piece at the original site. The Station was incorporated within the Deeping Fen, Spalding & Pinchbeck Internal Draining Board and a new electric Pumping station was installed.

 Extract from My Village Pinchbeck by Dulcie Edmonds and David Cox


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4 Responses

  1. As a small boy I remember seeing the engine working, Charles Seymour was known to me as ‘Uncle Seymour’ (he was I believe my mother’s cousin). The engine was his pride and joy and was cared for as a thing of value, I remember it as a gigantic polished shining thing of wonder. The one place I was forbidden to go was the scoop wheel house – it was ‘dangerous’.

  2. I remember the steam engine with great fondness. My father, Skeet Chapman, began working with Mr Seymour in the early 50s and we moved into the big Victorian house in 1952 when Mr Seymour retired. I grew up ‘down the marsh’. Some years later the house was demolished and we moved into the newly built bungalow which still stands on the site. My dad worked for the drainage board until 1966.

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