About the Steam Days
If England was a dartboard, the bullseye would contain the town of Burton upon Trent or just Burton. The population is about 72,000 people, and in the late 1800s, the town produced about 25% of all beer sold in Britain. Some of that probably went to Ireland as well. Joe Jackson, English musician and singer-songwriter was born there. So, if you are in Burton and feel like 'Steppin’ Out', going to a Steam Day at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is a great place to go where you can try your hand at stoking the boiler.
Those expecting some elegant Victorian-era steam event may be a bit aghast when they learn that the pumping station’s purpose was to pump sewage and brewery wastewater to an erstwhile 'sewage' farm in nearby Eggington. Now restored as a museum and tourist attraction, it hosts several Steam Days where the boilers are fired up. Note that a Steam 'Day' is a two-day weekend event
The Museum is open year-round for 'static tours', but the place comes alive for seven weekends every year beginning in February. Three days of preparation and about £300 of coal are needed to raise the steam in the 30 ft Lancashire boilers. Visitors will learn about how this stepping stone to modern sewage treatment helped stem the spread of diseases caused by drinking contaminated water like typhoid and cholera.
Claymills Victorian Pumping Station
The pumping station was in use from 1886 until 1969. Fourteen years later, in 1993, the Claymills Pumping Engines Trust was incorporated. In 1998, one of the boilers was fired up once again. The restoration work continues, and all the hard work paid off in March 2016 when Claymills became a fully Accredited Museum.
Entry To The Event
Visitors can tour the museum at no cost on non-steaming or 'static' days on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. There is a small entry fee on the Steaming Days. Adults enter for £6.50, concessions like OAPS are £5.50, children enter for £3.00 and a family pass £16.00. The costs to keep the boilers working is not cheap, so any extra donations are gratefully accepted.
Somewhere to Stay in Staffordshire
The Dovecliff Hall Hotel, the Hotel Mercure Burton upon Trent Newton Park, and the Unicorn Inn are three hotels within a few minutes drive of the pumping station. There are many other accommodations in Burton along A38 that will appeal to the frugal and lavish traveller. Campsites are nearby for Caravaners but tent campers will likely want to wait for the summertime Steam Days to pitch their tents.
Getting To Meadow Lane
Drivers arriving at the Claymill Pumping Station will need to get to the Toyota Island Roundabout, where the A38 (Burton Road) meets up with the A50 (Derby Southern Bypass). Head southwest on the A38 for about 5 miles and veer off in the left lane to the A5121 (Derby Road). Drive about one mile to Meadow Lane and make a left turn to the destination. Local drivers will know alternate routes as there are several ways to approach the station from the south. There is a bus that runs from Burton to Meadow Lane but the drop-off point is about a 15-minute walk to the station entrance.
Other Things To Do Around Burton-upon-Trent
Weekend visitors looking for some other things to do can visit the various castles and cathedrals around Burton and learn all about the local history and religions. But those who agree that beer is proof that God wants us to be happy can visit a different type of 'cathedral': The National Brewery Centre. Here, you will discover the history, art, and fun of brewing and more important the role that steam played in the brewing process in the Burton based breweries of the late 1880s.
Parking is free, but the on-site capacity is only about 15 cars. There is more free parking for Steam Days nearby within about 50 meters. Dogs are welcome and the station is wheelchair accessible except for the upper floors. And in case you were concerned, there will not be any demonstrations of actual sewage being pumped for obvious reasons.
When is the next Steam Days?
The Steam Days is planned to take place at Meadow Lane, Stretton, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, DE13 0DA, Saturday 23rd February, 2019. This is a Weekend Steam Event.
01283 509 929
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