Kew Bridge Steam Museum is the home of the world's largest waterworks and is London's only living steam museum.
Housed in a 19th century riverside pumping station close to Kew Bridge, this fascinating museum details London's water supply. The group of Grade I and Grade II listed buildings includes the original engine rooms, boiler houses and some of the outbuildings.
The main entrance lobby is like the vestibule of a grand town house, and dominating the site is the 197 feet brick tower, which dates from 1867. This is a standpipe tower, used as a safety device to ensure pressure in the water mains.
View of the museum tower from the River Thames
Opened to the public since 1975, the museum's main exhibits are five giant Cornish Beam Engines which once supplied water to West London. Many of the steam engines, together with a working waterwheel, have been restored to working order by volunteers.
The earliest engines, dating from 1820, were used to pump water out of Cornish tin and copper mines.Cornish Beam engine is started up on selected weekends and Bank Holidays, please contact the museum for more information.
A Water for Life exhibition illustrates the history of London's use, and abuse of water, and one highlight of the museum is the walk-through sewer.