Portsmouth Museums & Records Service is part of Portsmouth City Council
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Eastney Beam Engine House
Henderson Road, Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO4 9JF
An impressive Victorian building containing a pair of classic Boulton Watt beam engines and pumps restored to their original 1887 condition.
The Beam Engine House is normally open from 1pm to 5pm in the last complete weekend (Saturday & Sunday) in every month, except December.
Admission is free - the last admission is 30 minutes before closing. Access for disabled visitors is limited, so please phone for details. For confirmation of opening times, please see our Events page. If you are travelling any distance, it is advisable to check opening times on the day - please telephone: 023 9282 6722 (Visitor Information Centre and museums information number).
Please Note - currently we are experiencing difficulties with the boiler which mean we are unable to provide enough steam to turn the engine. You can however see the engine being turned by an electric motor. We apologise for the inconvenience.
Information for schools/colleges and other groups
See how Victorian engineers overcame problems of sewage pollution that caused diseases such as cholera. This impressive Victorian building contains different spectacular engines and pumps. Tours and led activities for groups may be booked a cost of £85 within a two hour session depending on availability. Contact us for details on 023 9283 4744 / 4737. Click on the links below to download and print activity sheets for use during your visit.
Why was the beam engine house built?
Because the city of Portsmouth is a low-lying island with poor natural drainage, sewage and waste often polluted the water supply, resulting in many deaths from diseases such as cholera. A new drainage system was introduced in 1868 using gravity to move sewage across Portsea Island to Eastney, from where it was pumped out to sea.
As the city's population increased, more pumping power was needed and the beam engines that can still be seen today were installed. The engines played an important part in improving the health and living standards of everyone in Portsmouth. When they were retired from normal use, the beam engines were still kept in operating condition as a backup until 1954. Maintenance of the engines and pumps was discontinued after 1954.
Following extensive restoration, the Beam Engine House was opened to the public as an industrial museum in 1972. There is limited access for people in wheelchairs due to there being a number of steps. Please contact us for more information (Tel. 023 9282 7261).