The Francis Street Pump Refurbishment Project.
The Francis Street pump is the last of many that were placed in various parts of the town to supply water to those who did not have a pump of their own. It was in use until the early part of the 20th century and the Vingtaine de la Ville de St. Helier has long wished to refurbish and restore it to its former glory.
After consultation with the Parish of St. Helier and other interested bodies, it was resolved at the Vingtaine meeting on 21st April 2004 to undertake this refurbishment. It was also resolved to reduce the height of the wall to the south of the pump to make it more visible from Colomberie.
Steven Rylance has been engaged to do the refurbishment work and Public Services are to reduce the height of the wall.
At the beginning of October 2004 the Rylance team arrived on site to remove the pump only to discover that there was a gas leak in the area adjacent to the pump, and the well, over which the pump was situated, was full of gas. The Gas Company was immediately contacted and arrived shortly afterwards to fix the leak. However it was several weeks later that the well was finally declared safe. The pump was eventually removed from its site in Francis Street and taken back to the Rylance workshop at the beginning of November 2004.
Also removed for refurbishment was the cast iron trough which had been filled with rubble and concrete. During the removal of this concrete and rubble from the trough some broken pieces of cast iron were found. These turned out to be parts of the original top to the pump which must have been broken at some time and been replaced with a top made from sheet metal and much smaller than the original. The (larger) original cast iron top is shown in the picture to the left in front of the newer sheet metal top. The old top has been welded back together and a piece inserted to replace a part that was missing and it is this original top which will be fitted when the pump is put back after refurbishment. The pump is shown here in the workshop after it has been repaired, waiting to be shot blasted prior to priming and repainting.
The image above left shows the internal lead pump mechanism that was exposed when the pump casing was removed. The drain leading from under the trough is also visible.
The picture above right shows the pump assembled with its original top and Phil, the engineer from Rylance, who did the refurbishment work.
On the 20th December 2004 the pump, having been fully refurbished and repainted was put back in its original position. The refurbishment process included stripping the pump completely back to bare metal, making good broken or rusted parts, shot blasting inside and out and priming and repainting inside and out. The cast iron and sheet metal from which the pump is made is thus fully protected from the elements and it is expected that the pump will last well in to the century before needing any further maintenance work. The wall to the right has also been reduced in height so the the pump can be more easily seen from La Colomberie.
At a short ceremony held at 10:00am on Tuesday 11th January 2005 the refurbished pump was officially unveiled by the Constable of St. Helier, Simon Crowcroft.
The Vingtaine de la Ville would like to thank all those who helped with this project in any way but especially the Parish of St. Helier, Public Services who altered the wall and not least, Rylance who carried out the work on the pump.
|Back to Projects Page|