As a sister photo to a previous post of mine about Earlswood engine house, today’s Friday photo is of the New Smethwick engine house. Not as new as its name would suggest, the grade II listed engine house was built in 1892 to house a Boulton and Watt designed engine which pumped water from the new Birmingham mainline to the higher old Birmingham mainline, replacing water lost through the continual operation of the locks.
It was constructed as a replacement for the original Smethwick engines situated at Bridge Street and Spon Lane and which, ultimately, were considered uneconomical to repair. The old pumping station was demolished in 1897 and you can still see the foundations at the original site on Bridge Street. The Smethwick engine that was housed here was eventually acquired by Birmingham City Council and now resides in the Thinktank science museum at Millenium Point. The new Smethwick engine house, like many others, closed during the 1920s due to a reduction of traffic on the canals. It was restored in the 1980s to be part of the Galton Valley Canal Museum and Heritage Centre.