Kew Bridge Steam Museum

If you’re in London this week and you’re already feeling Olympic-overload, we suggest that you break from the festivities and visit one of London’s lesser known historical sites. The Kew Bridge Steam Museum  celebrates the power of water and steam, and the ways it revolutionized life in Europe’s largest city and has become a major point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The museum has even starred in uniquely British television series such as Doctor Who and EastEnders, and films like Jude’s Law.

According to the museum website, by 1830 water quality coming from a public water pumping station in Chelsea had been deteriorating and so the Grand Junction Waterworks Company built a replacement pumping station at Kew Bridge, opening for operation in 1838. The station was powered by massive steam-powered engines, marvels of cutting edge engineering at the time, which drew water from the River Thames into London’s potable water supply. The power and capacity of these steam engines allowed city and regional planners of the time to supply the city with clean water, critical for fighting off persistent Cholera epidemics. Powered down in 1944, the pumping station became a national landmark and is preserved to commemorate the great change in sanitation and urban living made possible by man’s ability to harness and apply the power of steam.

The museum boasts  that visitors today can see the largest collection of Cornish Beam Engines, including the largest working Beam Engine in the world, the Grand Junction 90 engine. Standing at forty feet tall and weighing 250 tons, the imposing engine operated for almost a hundred years and was famously described by Charles Dickens as “a monster.” In addition to the water moving functions of the steam, visitors can also experience what the museum calls London’s last remaining steam-powered railway. “Thomas Wicksteed” carries visitors around the facility and is run by volunteers of the museum. As humans have continued to advance, we have collectively found that water and steam have yet to become replaceable or adequately synthesized.

We owe much thanks to the engineers of the industrial revolution for bringing steam from kettles to engines, and we owe the entrepreneurs of the 20th and 21st centuries a high five for bringing steam from engines to our spas and showers. Thanks to companies like ThermaSol, who’s Solitude mobile app we recently discussed, changes the way we think about our shower. We are continuing to see an advancement and acceptance of steam as an efficient and welcomed part of life, with technology increasingly improving the consumer appeal of steam.

 

This post sponsored by:

ThermaSol Steam Showers

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