KEMPTON STEAM MUSEUM
LONDON’S HISTORIC PUMPING STATION
Kempton Steam Museum is the home of the world’s largest working triple-expansion steam engine known as ‘The Sir William Prescott Engine’. The engine sits amongst two steam turbines and opposite an identical twin called ‘The Lady Bessie Prescott Engine,’ which is currently being restored. The machines are as high as four stacked double-decker buses and closely resemble the RMS Titanic’s engines. The two engines and two steam turbines pumped vast volumes of London’s drinking water from 1929 until 1980 when electric pumps in an adjacent building superseded them.
The museum is located at the Kempton Park Pumping Station in southwest London, which is operated by Thames Water and continues to supply water to London. The museum and its engines are housed within a Grade II* listed Scheduled Monument made from Portland stone and glazed bricks. The engine house is crowned at the rear by two tall brick chimneys known as ‘King’ and ‘Queen,’ which stand as a landmark for miles around. The mighty triple-expansion steam engines and turbine pumps have been preserved since 1995 by volunteers of the Kempton Great Engines Trust to ensure their engineering magnificence is treasured for many generations.
The museum is open between March and November for special events and several weekends throughout the year when the ‘The Sir William Prescott’ engine can be seen in action. Click one of the boxes above to learn more about London’s water supply history, technical details about the machines, and when to visit Kempton Steam Museum.