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Hydraulic power network

Steve R

master brummie
I am trying to get some information on the 'Hydraulic power network' that used to be in Birmingham. To be honest I had never heard of it until last Monday when we had a specialist attend our building to look at a Dumb Waiter that had been discovered hidden behind boards for the last few decades. He suggested that it may have been powered by this system. Having looked at Wikapedia it does show that the pumping station for this was in Dollman Street and came into service in 1891 the same year as the Lock - Up was built and situated just a couple of roads from where we are located in Steelhouse Lane. Looking on google maps I can only presume it has gone now perhaps replaced by the Crown Court building?

If anybody has information on this system which apparently used water at high pressure or could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

Steve R
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Wiki has this to record. However, DALTON Street is quoted rather than DOLLMAN Street.
Birmingham[edit]
Birmingham obtained its system in 1891, when the Dalton Street hydraulic station opened. In an unusual move, J. W. Gray, the Water Department engineer for the city, had been laying pressure mains beneath the streets for some years, anticipating the need for such a system. The hydraulic station used Otto 'Silent' type gas engines, and had two accumulators, with an 18-inch (460 mm) diameter piston, a stroke of 20 feet (6.1 m) and each loaded with a 93-tonne weight. The gas engines were started by a small hydraulic engine, which used the hydraulic energy stored in the accumulators, and all equipment was supplied by Ellington's company. Very few documents describing the details of the system are known to exist.[
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Steve . Was a bit mystified at first, until I realised you had mistyped Dollman st for Dalton St. The station is first listed in Dalton St in the 1892 Kellys and disappears between the 1932 and 1933 editions. Although a street number is not given,Its position was on the east side of Dalton st, just south of the junction with Silver St, probably on the corner, and would seem to have been replaced by Benyon & Ireland ,printers, who are listed there in 1936 as at no 127.
map c 1950 showing where the birmingham hydraulic water power station had been.jpg
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
It was opened (according to this snippet) in 1890 and closed c1932. From the Birmingham Daily Gazette in February 1932. Viv.
 

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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
And some details of the opening etc from the Birmingham Daily Post 20 July 1891. Viv.
 

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mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
There is mention of the installation in Vol 3 of "History of the Corporation of Birmingham":


From History of corporation of Birmingham vol 3.jpg

And mention is made in Robinson's "Hydraulic Power & Machinery"(1893)


Hydraulic power & machinery, robinson, 1893.jpg

The Report of the Water Committee in 1906 seems to show (from my very limited knowledge of accounting !) that the hydraulics scheme
brought in less money than fishing rights:

Report of water committee 22.5.1906.jpg

The capita charges apparently being much greater

Report of water committee 22.5.1906.2.jpg
 

Spargone

master brummie
I have a copy of Hydraulic Power by Ian McNeil, Longman 1972, in which he says that information was hard to come by and that his source was a paper read by Henry Lea to the Mason College Engineering Society in 1895 and held by the city library.
Would this system have powered the traverser and warehouse goods lifts at Moor Street station? The seaside town where my mum was born had a hydraulic system that powered the dock gates and cranes and also capstans in the adjacent goods yard. Sometimes the yard system was left powered up and we children would amuse ourselves by standing on the plunger and spinning someone sitting on the capstan.
 
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Steve R

master brummie
Thank you all for this information.
I have gone from having little knowledge to having a reasonable understanding of how this worked. If anybody out there has a picture of the pumping station I would be grateful. The knowledge on this forum is truly amazing.
Steve R
 
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