Your Ultimate Claymills Victorian Pumping Station Guide

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

Embarking on a journey through time, the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station stands as a remarkable testament to the ingenuity of the Victorian age. Nestled in the heart of Staffordshire, this preserved piece of industrial heritage invites visitors to step back into an era where steam power was the lifeblood of Britain’s infrastructure. The station’s painstaking restoration offers a window into the world of engineering marvels and the dedication of the workers who operated them.

Claymills captures the essence of the Victorian spirit of innovation and public health advancements. As visitors wander through the atmospheric buildings, they are enveloped by the sense of history that clings to the well-oiled machines and brickwork. The pumping station, now a museum, serves not only as a monument to the past but also as an educational resource, bringing history to life for all ages.

Thanks to the efforts of enthusiastic volunteers, the legacy of Claymills continues to be preserved. Its significance extends beyond the local community, standing as a symbol of the period’s architectural and engineering prowess. It is a place where the past resonates, where the clank and hiss of machinery echo through time, ensuring the stories and achievements of an industrial age are not forgotten.

Getting There

Whether you’re a local history enthusiast or a curious traveller, reaching the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is straightforward. Situated just outside Burton upon Trent, the site is accessible via various modes of transport, ensuring a convenient journey for all visitors.

By Car

Driving to Claymills is hassle-free with the station located on the outskirts of Burton upon Trent. From the town centre, take the A38 and follow signs directing towards the station. Ample signage will guide you to the destination, where you will find visitor parking available on-site. The journey by car is both quick and scenic, offering views of Staffordshire’s charming countryside.

By Bus

Local bus services provide a reliable means of reaching Claymills. Regular routes pass nearby, with stops within walking distance of the pumping station. Visitors can catch buses from the centre of Burton upon Trent, which will drop them off close to the site, making the station accessible even without private transportation.

By Train

For those travelling by rail, the nearest station is Burton upon Trent. From there, Claymills is just a short taxi ride away. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, it’s a pleasant walk or cycle ride, with the route well-signed and taking you through some of the area’s industrial heritage landscape.

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

History and Background

The Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is a remarkable relic of the Industrial Revolution, built in the late 19th century to help manage the burgeoning population’s waste and combat the associated health risks. The station played a crucial role in improving sanitation for the residents of Burton upon Trent, an area once renowned for its brewing industry.

Key figures in the station’s history include its Victorian engineers, who designed and maintained the complex steam engines and boilers. Their work ensured the effectiveness of the sewage treatment process, which was vital for the public health of the community. The station remained operational until the late 20th century when newer technologies replaced the need for such large-scale steam-powered facilities.

Today, the station has been meticulously restored to its former glory, allowing visitors to appreciate the grandeur and operational genius of the Victorian era. Through the dedication of volunteers and heritage organisations, Claymills stands as a proud testament to the past, providing an educational and evocative experience for all who walk its historic grounds.

What to See and Do

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station offers a variety of engaging experiences for visitors, from exploring the grandeur of Victorian engineering to family-friendly events.

Explore the Victorian Era Engines

At the heart of Claymills Victorian Pumping Station lies the spectacular Victorian-era engines. These engineering marvels, once the driving force behind Burton upon Trent’s sewage management, are preserved in their original splendour. Visitors can marvel at the grand scale of the beam engines, the intricate details of their design, and the craftsmanship that has stood the test of time. A visit to Claymills is incomplete without witnessing these giants of the industrial age.

Discover the Pumping Process

Understanding the pumping process at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is an enlightening experience. The station’s interactive displays and knowledgeable guides explain how the steam engines and pumps worked together to move vast volumes of wastewater. This educational journey provides insight into the importance of sanitation and public health during the Victorian era and the ingenuity employed to address these critical issues.

Witness a Working Dynamo House

The dynamo house at Claymills is a living exhibit, demonstrating the generation of electricity using steam power. Visitors can witness the original dynamos in action, producing the spark that once illuminated the station and its surroundings. Experiencing the dynamo house in operation is a rare opportunity to see Victorian technology functioning as it did over a century ago.

Uncover Victorian Workshops and Forges

Exploring the workshops and forges of Claymills Victorian Pumping Station transports visitors to the daily life of the Victorian craftsman. These spaces, where tools were forged and repairs made, are filled with the original equipment and materials used during the station’s operational days. They provide a tactile connection to the past, showcasing the skill and labour that kept the station running smoothly.

Take a Tour With Knowledgeable Volunteers

One of the best ways to experience Claymills is to take a guided tour led by the station’s passionate volunteers. These individuals, armed with extensive knowledge and anecdotes, bring the history of the station to life. They offer fascinating insights into the workings of the engines, the lives of the workers, and the station’s role in Victorian society.

Attend a Steaming Weekend

For a truly immersive experience, visitors should not miss a Steaming Weekend at Claymills. These special events see the station’s engines operating under full steam, just as they did in their heyday. The sight, sound, and smell of the steam engines provide a multisensory journey into the past, making for an unforgettable visit.

Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is not just a haven for history buffs; it also offers a range of family-friendly activities. Interactive exhibits, engaging tours, and special event days ensure that visitors of all ages can learn about and appreciate the significance of this industrial heritage site. The station’s commitment to education and entertainment makes it an ideal destination for a family day out.

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

Tips for Making the Most of the Visit

To truly embrace the spirit of the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station, visitors are encouraged to delve into the local context. Discover the brewing heritage of Burton upon Trent, join a National Trust tour to explore the broader history, or extend the adventure with a trip to the National Forest Adventure Farm and the National Memorial Arboretum. These nearby attractions complement the experience at Claymills, adding depth to the journey through Staffordshire’s rich past.

Plan Your Visit

When planning a visit to Claymills Victorian Pumping Station, situated near Burton upon Trent, it’s a good idea to check the calendar of events. This historic site, not far from the National Forest Adventure Farm and the National Memorial Arboretum, offers a rich experience for history enthusiasts. Ensure you review the opening times and any special events, like the Steaming Weekends that bring the past to life. If you’re a National Trust member, you might find reciprocal arrangements or discounts, so don’t forget your membership card.

Take a Guided Tour

A guided tour at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is an immersive way to experience the grandeur of the Victorian age. Knowledgeable guides lead visitors through the impressive engine rooms and steam workshops. Static viewing of the engines can’t compare to hearing the stories and insights that bring the machinery to life. Tours vary in length, so allocate enough time to fully appreciate the intricacies of this industrial marvel.

Engage With the Exhibits

Engaging with the exhibits at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station means more than just looking. Listen to the sounds of the engines, read the informational plaques, and observe the craftsmanship of the machinery. This active participation enriches the experience, offering a deeper understanding of the engineering feats accomplished during the Victorian era. Don’t hesitate to ask questions; the more curious you are, the more rewarding your visit will be.

Dress Comfortably

Comfort is key when visiting Claymills Victorian Pumping Station. The site covers a significant area with various buildings and outdoor spaces to explore. Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces and dress in layers to adapt to the varying temperatures indoors and out. This will ensure you can focus on the fascinating history and technology around you rather than any personal discomfort.

Bring Cash

While planning your visit, remember that not all vendors at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station may accept cards. Bringing cash ensures you can partake in all the station has to offer, from small souvenirs to refreshments. It’s particularly important during event days or at the onsite cafe, where the convenience of cash can keep your day flowing as smoothly as the steam engines.

Capture the Moment

Capturing the moment at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station allows you to preserve the memories of your visit. While photography is encouraged, be mindful to avoid flash in certain areas to protect the authenticity of the machinery and the experiences of other visitors. Taking photos can be a great way to share and reflect on the experience later, so charge your camera or phone in advance.

Grab a Bite at the Cafe

After exploring, the onsite cafe at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station offers a variety of refreshments. From hot beverages to light snacks, it’s the perfect spot to take a break and reflect on what you’ve learned. The cafe also provides an opportunity to chat with other visitors or volunteers who might share intriguing stories and facts not covered during your tour.

Practical Information

Keep this essential information in mind when visiting Claymills Victorian Pumping Station.

Opening Hours

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is typically open to visitors on Thursdays and Saturdays. However, the opening hours can vary, especially on event days or during the winter season, so it’s best to confirm on their official website or by phone before your visit.

Entry Fees

While there may be a nominal fee for entry to Claymills Victorian Pumping Station, children often enter for free. Special events like the Steaming Days might have a separate pricing structure. Discounts could be available for groups, seniors, or National Trust members, so inquire ahead of time.

Best Times to Visit

The best times to visit Claymills Victorian Pumping Station are during the Steaming Weekends when the engines are in operation, offering a truly dynamic experience. Spring and summer provide pleasant weather for exploring the outdoor areas, while visiting off-peak can mean fewer crowds and a more personal experience. Check the local calendar for any special exhibitions or events to enhance your visit.

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

Facilities Available

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station offers an array of facilities to ensure a comfortable visit for all guests.


There is ample free parking available for visitors at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station. Spaces are located close to the entrance, making it convenient for guests to access the site. During special events, follow the signs and instructions from volunteers for additional parking areas.

Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is the heart of your visit. Here, you’ll find interactive displays, information about the steam engines and steam-driven workshop, and a glimpse into the station’s historical significance. The centre also provides resources to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the site.

Information for Wheelchair Users

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is committed to providing disabled access where possible, though some areas may be challenging due to the historical nature of the site. Disabled toilets are available, and staff are on hand to assist and guide wheelchair users to the accessible areas, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this unique piece of history.


Visitors to the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station can find restrooms conveniently located within the facility. These are maintained to reflect the station’s period charm while ensuring modern hygiene standards. Accessibility options are also available, catering to the needs of all guests.

Safety and Etiquette

Here are some safety measures to adhere to:

Respect Opening Hours & Follow Instructions

Visitors are reminded to respect the opening hours of the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station and to follow any instructions given by volunteers. This ensures the safety and preservation of the site, particularly during the bustling steaming weekends.

Mind Your Step

As you explore the engineering wonders of Claymills, be mindful of uneven surfaces and steps. The site has been preserved to showcase its original state, which includes historic flooring that can be tricky to navigate.

Stay With Your Group

To ensure safety and the smooth running of the station, visitors are encouraged to stay with their group at all times. This is especially important for children, who should be supervised to prevent any accidents in this industrial environment.

Silence for Machinery Demonstrations

During demonstrations of the station’s impressive Victorian machinery, silence is requested. This allows the knowledgeable volunteers to share insights without interruption, enhancing the educational experience for all attendees.

No Flash Photography

Flash photography is not allowed within the pumping station. This rule protects the integrity of historical machinery and provides a more authentic experience, allowing the ambient lighting to showcase the true atmosphere of the Victorian era.


Part of the experience at the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station includes the opportunity to indulge in local Staffordshire culinary delights. The on-site cafe offers a selection of homemade cakes, scones, and light refreshments, perfect for a post-tour treat. Visitors can savour the flavours of the region while surrounded by the industrial heritage of the station.

For those seeking a more substantial meal, the area around Claymills boasts a variety of dining options. Local pubs serve traditional British fare, including the famous Staffordshire oatcake, a versatile pancake-like delicacy that is a must-try for any food enthusiast.

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station


For visitors wishing to extend their stay, the surrounding area offers a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets.

Dovecliff Hall Hotel

Located amidst picturesque gardens, Dovecliff Hall Hotel is a stunning Georgian manor offering elegance and comfort. Guests can enjoy beautifully appointed rooms and dine in a restaurant that showcases the best of local produce.

Hilton at St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent

The Hilton at St George’s Park provides a luxurious stay with modern amenities and top-notch service. As the home of the National Football Centre, it’s an ideal choice for sports enthusiasts and those seeking premium accommodation.

Farmhouse at Mackworth

The Farmhouse at Mackworth marries rustic charm with contemporary design, set in a historic 18th-century farmhouse. It’s a boutique hotel experience with a renowned restaurant offering a modern twist on classic dishes.

Boars Head Hotel

For a cosy and inviting atmosphere, the Boars Head Hotel presents traditional hospitality combined with comfort. Known for its hearty meals and warm welcome, it’s a homely base for exploring Staffordshire.

Travelodge Derby Cricket Ground

For practicality and convenience, the Travelodge Derby Cricket Ground offers comfortable, budget-friendly accommodation. It’s perfectly situated for guests looking to explore Derby and the wider Staffordshire area.

Nearby Attractions

The region around Claymills offers a variety of attractions, including the pastoral Amerton Railway and historical sites such as the Apedale Heritage Centre, ensuring visitors have plenty to explore beyond the pumping station.

Amerton Railway

Just a stone’s throw from Burton upon Trent lies the charming Amerton Railway, a heritage steam railway offering a nostalgic journey through the Staffordshire countryside. Ideal for families and railway enthusiasts alike, the railway operates vintage steam and diesel trains that whisk passengers back in time along a scenic one-mile track.

Apedale Heritage Centre

In the heart of Staffordshire’s coal mining history, Apedale Heritage Centre stands as a testament to the area’s rich industrial past. This complex includes a museum, a reconstruction of a mine, and heritage railway rides, all encapsulating the life and work of local miners and their contribution to the nation’s heritage.

Brindley’s Mill & James Brindley Museum

The legacy of James Brindley, a pioneering engineer of the Industrial Revolution, is celebrated at Brindley’s Mill & James Brindley Museum. Nestled near the Trent and Mersey Canal, this fully operational 18th-century water-powered mill offers visitors an intimate look into the ingenuity of one of Britain’s earliest engineering marvels.

Etruria Industrial Museum

Located in the heart of the Potteries, the Etruria Industrial Museum showcases the last steam-powered potters’ mill in the world. During special steaming weekends, visitors can witness the firing of the impressive ‘Princess’ and ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie beam engines, which are integral to the area’s pottery industry’s heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s the most exciting time to visit Claymills?

The most exhilarating time to visit Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is during one of their renowned Steaming Weekends. These events bring the bygone era back to life, showcasing the station’s engines in full operation and offering a tangible experience of the Victorian industrial age through the restoration project’s achievements.

2. Is Claymills Victorian Pumping Station suitable for children?

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is a family-friendly destination with plenty to engage the younger visitors. Children can follow the engaging ‘rat trail’, discover interactive exhibits, and learn about the station’s history in a fun and educational setting. The station’s activities are designed to captivate curious minds of all ages.

3. Are there tours available at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station?

Indeed, guided tours are a highlight at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station, courtesy of the knowledgeable Claymills Pumping Engines Trust volunteers. These tours offer an integrated industrial heritage experience, complete with insights into the workings of pumps and engines, including the history of brewing India Pale Ale in Burton upon Trent.


Visiting Claymills Victorian Pumping Station is akin to stepping into a living museum, where the industrial ingenuity of England’s past is preserved and celebrated. Among the many attractions in the heart of Staffordshire, Claymills stands out for its unique focus on Victorian engineering and its role in the development of public health systems. As you wander through the site, signposted by brown signs directing travellers off Meadow Lane Stretton, you can’t help but feel engrossed in the history that surrounds the majestic B Engine and its counterparts. It’s a vivid reminder of the era’s craftsmanship and the importance of preserving such heritage.

Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep Up to Date with the Most Important News

By pressing the Subscribe button, you confirm that you have read and are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use