interior of Abbey Pumping Station engines

Click to enlarge images below:

Abbey Pumping Station

About

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)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday11:00 - 16:30

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

TripAdvisor

Related

Throne RoomKing Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester City

The Guildhall exterior Leicester Guildhall, Leicester City

Holiday Inn Leicester, Leicester City

Space SuitsNational Space Centre, Leicester City

Leicester Cathedral, Leicester City

New Walk Museum & Art GalleryLeicester Museums

Leicester - the City’s Story, Leicester City

wygstons house upstairsLeicester Old Town Restaurants, Leicester City

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

Facilities

Other

  • 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

What's Nearby

  1. National Space Centre

    Space Suits, Rockets And Buzz Aldrin’s Underpants

  2. Belgrave Hall

    Belgrave Hall is a historic house, providing an oasis of peace and quiet in a busy city.

  3. Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre

    Adventurous outdoor activities designed to stimulate, educate and motivate young people…

  4. The Golden Mile

    The Golden Mile where all that glitters is gold

  1. Abbey Park

    Hugging the banks of the River Soar in the north of the city is Abbey Park – a beautiful…

  2. Leicester Riders

    Leicester Riders are the city's professional basketball club, playing in the British…

  3. Haymarket Theatre

    The Haymarket is a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art venue for theatre productions, esports…

  4. Haymarket Shopping Centre

    Haymarket Shopping Centre has over 60 stores including fashion and food outlets, making…

  5. Highcross Leicester

    Highcross offers an awe-inspiring mix of fashionable stores, stylish restaurants and a…

  6. Leicester’s Theatrical Traditions

    Curtain up on a city with theatre in its blood

  7. Treetop Adventure Golf

    Looking for an epic mini-golf adventure? Come and play Tropical Trail & Ancient Explorer…

  8. Showcase Cinema de Lux

    Situated in the Highcross shopping complex in the centre of the city, Showcase Cinema…

  9. Curve

    Curve is a spectacular, state-of-the-art theatre in the heart of Leicester’s vibrant…

  10. Phoenix

    Phoenix is Leicester’s centre for independent cinema, art and digital culture.

  11. The Soundhouse Leicester

    The Soundhouse is an established independent live music venue located in St George’s…

  12. The Shed

    The Shed first opened its doors in 1994 and is a core part of Leicester’s thriving music…

Previous Next

Search What's Nearby

Product Type
Proximity
Within miles

Flower Icon

Related Content

Explore further