interior of Abbey Pumping Station engines

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Abbey Pumping Station


Abbey Pumping Station

From Roman pipes to Victorian toilets, uncover the story of how the city of Leicester dealt with its smelliest problems! Discover the industrial and technological and scientific history of Leicester and see vintage vehicles plus the four steam-powered beam engines, which are fired up on special event days and create a sight (and sound) you won’t experience anywhere else.

Abbey Pumping Station is Leicester's museum of science and technology, displaying the city's industrial, technological and scientific heritage

Opened in 1891, Abbey Pumping Station pumped Leicester's sewage to the treatment works at Beaumont Leys.

The grand Victorian building and beautifully decorated beam engines were a cause of great civic pride, having built in the city by Gimsons. They are rare examples of Woolf compound rotative beam engines, and with all four beam engines now restored to working condition, they can be seen in steam on special event days – the only place in Britain this magnificent sight can be seen.

There are a number of great events throughout the year, including the chance to see the engines in action, as well as toy exhibitions and more! Stay tuned... 

Abbey Pumping Station is COVID Secure and is following current government guidance with procedures in place to protect your safety. Supplying Track & Trace details and the wearing of face masks inside Leicester Museums & Galleries is mandatory. Please visit the COVID FAQ page before your visit so you are prepared and can enjoy your visit to our museums and galleries.

Add Abbey Pumping Station to your Itinerary

Visitor Details

Key Information

Corporation Road, Leicester, LE4 5PX

Tel: +44 (0) 1162995111

Opening Times

Opening Hours: (1 Feb 2021 - 31 Oct 2021)
Monday - Sunday11:00 - 16:30

* Abbey Pumping Station will reopen on Monday 21 June 2021.



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Sunday, 3 October 2021 - Sunday, 3 October 2021

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 - Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Abbey Pumping Station RailwayRailway Day
more info

Map & Directions



  • Uncover the story - Powdering your nose, answering the call of nature, spending a penny – for a subject we don’t talk about, there are plenty of phrases describing going to the toilet. Everyone does it, and the Romans even made it a social event, sharing loos with friends and strangers alike. <hr> There’s a museum in Leicester that also considers the subject far from taboo. Locally called the ‘poo museum’, but better described as a museum of science and technology, Abbey Pumping Station celebrates all things sewage – something that caused Victorian Leicester a mighty problem. <hr> Whether you had an indoor non-flushing water closet or an outdoor privy, both had a container which was removed so the waste could be emptied into the nearest river, drain or gutter. This in turn led to the pollution of the drinking water supply, and water-borne diseases such as cholera. <hr> In 1891, Abbey Pumping Station, a grand building with a 150ft chimney, took shape alongside the River Soar, and came up with a mighty solution. Using four Woolf steam-powered beam engines, made by Leicester engineers Gimson and Company, it was able to pump waste from the city to a treatment works in Beaumont Leys. <hr> Abbey Pumping Station is now a museum, where you can learn all about these rare machines, the only engines of their kind in the world. You’ll see Victorian toilets, Roman water pipes, and even have the chance, thanks to a see-through loo, to see exactly what happens when you flush! <hr> Outside there are vintage vehicles, and on bookable event days you can see the four beam engines roar into life – a spectacular sight seen nowhere else but here. <hr> On non-event days entry is free to this gem, however, you won’t be able to resist depositing a donation into the specially adapted loo, but remember, it’s cash only!

Accreditations & Awards

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