The Northern Mill Engine Society Collection

Walker Steam Fire Pump

After many devastating fires in early textile mills, there was a widespread move to fit newer mills with fire sprinkler systems, usually fed from a large tank at the top of the mill. In order to pump the water up to the tank and to maintain pressure in the event of a fire, steam driven pumps were installed on the water mains.

The engine here is a somewhat unusual design with twin large flywheels and outside return rods to the pump cross-head. It was built by Walkers of Radcliffe sometime about 1890. The steam cylinder is 17" bore and 30" stroke with a top-mounted slide valve and the pump is 9" in diameter. The large vessel on top of the pump is an accumulator to help smooth out pressure fluctuations on the delivery pipe from the water pump.

The engine was acquired in 1983 from the Fern Mill at Shaw, near Oldham