News: The modern name of Kent is derived from the Brythonic word kantos meaning "rim" or "border", or possibly from a homonymous word kanto "horn, hook"
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station  (Read 4256 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 101sean

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
  • Appreciation 12
Re: Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2014, 20:59:26 »
I went on a visit there about 30 years ago. We were told one of the shafts has a tunnel in to the hillside part way down, presumably to increase the rate of inflow from the aquifer.

Offline TowerWill

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Appreciation 27
Re: Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 10:54:06 »
Many thanks Bilgerat! I take it the wells do not have a ladder and platform system of access like Dover Waterworks has. My late father took me down the well at the 1960s.

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7429
  • Appreciation 421
    • Sheppey History
Re: Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 08:29:50 »
Thank you for posting these Bilgerat, it was great to see :)

Here is a war time image forwarded to me to post by martinrogers.


  • Guest
Re: Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 12:05:47 »
Really interesting, Bilgerat; many thanks.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 186
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2014, 08:42:04 »
Many thanks for the description to go with the photos. :)
How little we know (well, I do anyway!) of what is behind that simple action of filling the kettle for a cuppa.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline Bilgerat

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1117
  • Appreciation 264
Boxley Hill Water Pumping Station
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 20:59:38 »

Many of us have driven past this building a thousand times and not even given it a second thought, if we had noticed it at all. What many people don't know is that this building and the machinery it houses provides about half the drinking water for the whole of Maidstone. I recently had the opportunity to have a nose around this building and the machinery it houses in the course of my job.

Owned by South East Water, this building was opened in 1939 and sits on top of two gigantic wells. One, the largest in terms of the volume of water extracted, is 70m or 230 feet deep in chalk. At the bottom of this well are three pumps and between them, they extract 70m litres or about 15.5m gallons of water a day. To this water is added a tiny dose of chlorine to bring it to UK standards and it then goes straight into the water supply.

The other well is even deeper. Called the Greensand Well, it is 120m, or about 395 feet deep and is in the green sandstone underneath the chalk. The pump in this well extracts about 20m litres or about 4.4m gallons a day. This water needs to be filtered before it can be chlorinated and added to the drinking water supply.

The top of the well.

Another view of the top of the well. The three black pipes are about 12" in diameter and go down into the chalk well. The green pipe on the right is the pipe from the greensand well.

The overhead gantry, this is used to lift the pumps out of the well.

The old filtration and aeration plant for the greensand well. This machinery is no longer used and has been replaced.

The more modern filtration plant for the greensand well. These large tank like structures contain the filters which are washed automatically. The sludge from the filters contains a lot of iron and is pumped to settlement ponds behind the hedge on the other side of the road. Once the sludge has settled out, the wash-water is returned to nature. Both sludge and water are harmless. The sludge is pumped out annually and taken to a disposal facility (which is why I was there).

The old sludge tanks, now disused

The more modern settlement ponds, which I believe were built in the 1960's.

The on-site reservoir. This holds about 15m gallons of fresh water and is one of a number which are supplied by the Boxley Wells.

View across the well. Before the pumping station was automated, the beautiful inlaid floor and brass handrails were kept spotless and polished. The control panel on the left replaced the original one which had a load of brass dials and switches.

The plaque, which was unveiled when the station was opened.

Although the building is not generally open to the public, I was given to believe by the operators that South-East Water do lay on tours by appointment. I have no idea who to contact, I would imagine that the best thing to do would be to contact South-East Water and go from there.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent


BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines