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Victoria Engine Shed

Victoria Engine House

© Mike Doyle. April 2013

This page is under development

The Victoria Engine shed and chimney stand pipe.1901 (Hackney Archives)

The ‘Victoria’ was a large Cornish engine with a hundred inch cylinder

The engine building had an Italianate campanile or stand-pipe/chimney. 


The foundation stones now form a stone circle artwork.


The foundations and floor of the engine house remain visible today.



Lee Valley Park Authority

Date or period


Current Designation


Archaeological Merit


Cross section. The Engineer Nov 23 1866

The new engine was installed at the Waterworks in 1854. The engines were commisioned and installed by the East London Company’s engineer, Charles Greaves but possibly conceived by Wicksteed in the final years of his tenure.

At the time of its erection in 1855, this was the largest machine for supplying water to towns ever constructed. 

‘This engine, when working full power, pumps about 9,060 gallons of water per minute, usually 140 ft. high, which water is conveyed into London by cast-iron pipes 36 in. diameter’.

From 1855-62 Harvey and Co. of Hayle, Cornwall displayed a model and published an engraving of a single-acting condensing pumping engine and of a safety-balance valve, ‘on the Cornish principle’, for East London Waterworks Company, at Lea Bridge. 

The building has been demolished. The fate of the engine is unknown.The footings and stones from the engine well remain in place but partly reformed as a ‘Stonehenge’ type artwork entitled 'Nature's Throne'.

Details of the 'Grand Junction 100 inch engine, now at Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

Recent Alterations and Additions Source of Supply The river Lea above Tottenham For the conveyance of the water from Tottenham to Lea Bridge a new open channel has been cut of 100 square feet sectional area From above this new intake a large and expensive intercepting drain has been executed four and a naif miles in length which cuts off from the river the refuse of dye works and the drainage of neighbouring places which are stated to have a population of about 35,000 inhabitants so that the water is now obtained of the same purity as above Chingford Mills Filter Beds Reservoirs Ac At Lea Bridge the water is received direct rfromthe river on to 13 new filter beds which cover an area of 12 acres These have been constructed hi two circles each with a pure water well in the centre There are seven filter beds arranged in one circle and six in the other The filtering medium is three feet six inches in thickness composed entirely of sand From the filter beds the main body of water is conveyed by a four feet iron pipe to the two oval reservoirs at OldFord which were formerly subsiding reservoirs Theyhave now been connected and covered with brick arches springing from cross arches resting on piers the surface of the arches being covered with soil These reservoirs are 24 acres in extent The other reservoirs of the company near Old Ford and that at Stamford Hill are now thrown out of use Engine Power In addition to the engine power described in the former return a new engine with 100 inch cylinder and 11 feet stroke has been erected at Lea Bridge for the supply of the upper northern district There are six boilers to this engine It is capable of lifting 150 cubic feet of water each stroke A new Cornish engine 70 inch cylinder is also in course of erection at Old Ford The aggregate nominal engine power of the company is now 840 horses equal to 40,000,000 gallons of water per day lifted 100 feet high Consumption of Smoke Some apparatus has been employed at Old Ford for the prevention of dense smoke from the furnaces but smokeless fuel is now used Quantity of Water Pumped Ths quantity of water now pumped is 16 million g lions per day and the number of tenements supplied is 70,000 The supply is furnished six days per week Maine Branches Ac The total length of pipeage laid up to Christmas 1855 was 331 miles The plan of the Company's mains and district mains required by the Metropolis Water Act 1852 is complete up to Christmas last It is drawn to the scale of 12 inches to the mile Cojtt of Works The cost of the new works executed since the Acts of 1852 has been 250 0002 making with the previous outlay a total expenditure of 995 7812 upon the works of this Company General Remarks The new works of the East London Water Company most worthy of note are the 100 inch cylinder engine the filtering arrangements at Lea Bridge and the intercepting drainage This engine at Lea Bridge is said to be the largest yet erected for waterworks although it will be seen that the Southwark and Yauxhall Company have one of still larger dimensions now in course of construction The filter beds are the most extensive works of the kind appertaining to the metropolitan supply and they are admirably arranged They were commenced in 1852 the first half was completed in June 1854 and the whole by the 5th November 1855 when filtered water only was delivered to the Company's district The water of the Lea was quite as turbid as that of the Thames at the time of inspection owing to the recent rains but although the filtering medium employed by this Company is of less thickness than that of any other the filtered water certainly appeared to be the brightest The East London Water Company as stated in the return employed no means of filtration before the Act of 1852 The large depositing reservoirs upon which they had to rely for clearness of the water have now been abandoned and all communication between them and the mains has been cut off The cocks are now used in the main which brings the filtered water from Lea Bridge to the covered reservoirs at Old Ford This company has no high service reservoir for the supply of their tenants the water is pumped direct into the district for distribution The new buildings at Lea Bridge are of brick they are substantial and of handsome elevation The chimney and stand pipe for the supply of the northern high level district are enclosed in a square tower 148 feet in height Fifty two inch cocks are fixed between the pump and stand pipe and between the stand pipe and main No expense has been spared in making these works as complete as possible.

Greaves’ obituary refers to Filter-beds constructed  at  Lea  Bridge,  and  a  large  Cornish  engine  of  100-inch cylinder,  called  the  “ Victoria,”  with  a  campanile  and  stand- pipe. 

Greaves’ obituary states that the “Victoria” Cornish engine at Lea Bridge should have further augmentation. Mr. Greaves recommended additional engine-power, and he subsequently erected the “Prince” and “Princess” engines, having cylinders of 85 inches diameter, together with additional filter-beds and the engine-house, which forms a 'bold object on the side of the Lea Bridge Road'.


The Civil Engineer and Architects Journal Volume 20, 1857 (Google Books).

© leabridge.org.uk December 2012