Charity ‘Blows’ £500 on New Bellows

The historic Tees Cottage Pumping Station in Darlington has upgraded its 100 year old blacksmith’s bellows with a donation from Darlington Rotary.

The charity is a Victorian waterworks which began supplying water to Darlington in 1849. It offers educational and volunteering opportunities and also houses a smithy, probably built in 1853.

The bellows for the smithy previously meant someone had to be present to continually pump the ancient bellows. But a donation of £500 from Darlington Rotary has paid for an electric fan to the bellows which work in tandem, and which means it no longer has to be continually manned.

Pumping Station volunteer, Steve Silverwood, said: ’The building’s small windows and dark interior allowed the blacksmith to see the changing colour of the metal – important for working out its temperature, as different techniques require different temperatures.

‘The bellows are the oldest piece of working machinery on site and believed to be original, as they are of a type that was superseded in the 1890s.’

Darlington Rotarian link to the project, Jeff Mann, said: ‘The charity is manned entirely by about 15 to 18 volunteers and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with two completely original pumping engines in full working order.

‘It has a programme of educational visits and is a jewel in the crown of the history of Darlington. We felt we could assist with the continuation of this great monument and tourist attraction.’

The pumping station has five open events during the year: 17th and 18th April, 21st and 22nd May, 25th and 26th June, 3rd and 4th September and 8th and 9th October when the whole site, including the smithy, will be open to the public.

Charity ‘Blows’ £500 on New Bellows