On the outskirts of Spalding in Lincolnshire, as you drive along the A16 you may just see a small sign post to the Pinchbeck Engine Museum. I must admit that since moving to the area 4 years ago, we have passed that sign many times and every time we have said that we must pop in for a look.
So here is the history part.
Not that long ago, somebody thought it would be a good idea to drain the Fens (they are in the east of England) for farming. A similar thing also took place in Holland and it is by no coincidence that this area is known as South Holland.
So drains were dug and water was drained and something unexpected happened. As the land dried out, it sank. The result was that the fields around the drains ended up being below the water level and of course, water cannot flow up hill.
And so pumps were installed. At first they were wind driven and then steam took over once the steam engine was invented. Today these pumps are electric and are all over the east of England.
The Pinchbeck Engine Museum is one of the few surviving steam pumps and whilst it has now been replaced by modern electric pumps, it has been preserved.
The museum seems to operate little or no advertising and I have yet to meet anybody else who has been there. Indeed a quick look at the visitors book suggests that you will not be queuing to get in at any time which is a shame as this is a genuinely interesting attraction.
So upon arrival in the empty car park, the pump house is located in impeccably kept grounds with a nice picnic area. As we got out of the car we were met by Ken who personally showed the three of us around the museum explaining to us what everything was, how it worked and the history behind it.
Essentially the Pinchbeck Engine is a large steam engine that drives a large water wheel that then lifts the water up into the river and it has all been really well preserved
So overall, we were on site for about an hour. Entrance was free of charge (although there is a donation box) and it was a genuinely interesting and informative day out.
So if you are in the area (the A16 is a popular route to the East coast) then why not stop by? You will be glad you did.
There are a load more photos in my photo album which you can find here.