Hampshire Mills Group



Back Up Next

Page 5

Newsletter 135 Winter 2021   © Hampshire Mills Group


Pump House, Redbridge Lane, Old Basing


Debbie Reavell, Basingstoke Heritage Society

Photos by Bob Moore in 2021 and John Oliver in 1972


Basingstoke Heritage Society www.bas-herit-soc.org was founded in 1989 and is concerned with the unparished areas of Basingstoke.  Normally a structure within Old Basing Parish Council area would not be something we would comment on, but this is very interesting.  In May 2021 an investigator of things curious put on to Facebook’s Basingstoke History page a link to a YouTube film of a structure he had ‘discovered’ off Redbridge Lane.  His name is Bob Moore and this is the link to his film:  https://youtu.be/2ZQPyPOH4oo



We became curious about this structure and discovered that it was on the Historic Environment Record (HER) record but with scant description.  It also appears to be marked on the 1759 Taylor map of Hampshire and in 1791, the Milne map, marked as ‘Engine’.  (See below.)


It had been noted by an Industrial Archaeology group at Southampton University in the 1970s and I was able to obtain a copy via Amazon of their report.  (See editor’s note below.)  This noted that occasional use of the pump supplied water to ‘estate’ cottages.  These may mean Swing Bridge cottages nearby, which seem to have had access to a hand-pump near the pump house.  There was a road or track called The Pipes from Redbridge Lane to Hackwood Farm Cottages within living memory.  



Hackwood House has a long history beginning with the enclosure of the land in the 13th century as a hunting area.  There was a house there in 1628, but not in the precise location as today – the present house was begun in 1683.  By the time William, 2nd Baron Bolton, inherited in 1807 he clearly felt it needed some improvement and Lewis Wyatt was engaged to do the work, which included improving the water supply.  (While working at Hackwood, Lewis Wyatt designed Basingstoke’s new town hall, which is now The Willis Museum in Market Place, and the Bolton Arch at the London Road entrance to Crabtree.)  The pump is on private land owned by a Trustee company of family descendants of Viscount Camrose.

Mills and Millers of North Hampshire Vol 3 North and East had a helpful entry about the pump, including a note by Brian Spicer who had been agent for the Hon Mrs Julian Berry.  This was in 2003 and the dense vegetation was commented on then.  Brian is well known to our Society and has given many talks on the Hackwood Estate.  The pump house entry is shared with a piece about Basing Upper Mill, which later became a farm and has been demolished.  (Editor:  Brian’s note says that the pipes ran from Home Farm to a reservoir on Spring Wood.)

We wrote about the Pump House in our July 2021 newsletter, which prompted interest from a member, who is also a member of Hampshire Mills Group.  Best of all was that another member produced a set of slides taken in 1972 by her husband, the late John Oliver.



These were a series done for a publication called Hampshire Treasures – they required scanning and enlarging to show what the eye could not see – the words ‘Simpson & Son , Engineers, London’ are just readable on the lower left of this photo.  Below is a photo of the axle and arms of the water wheel.




Research in the Hampshire Record Office was revealing.  Because of ‘you know what’, we couldn’t or were reluctant to go and research in person, but the catalogue showed that there were relevant documents.  These eventually arrived, and are summarised below:



A Statement of Account headed Chelsea Water Works, dated 1794  (11M49/468), together with a note to a Mr Dunn to begin ‘cutting the wood’.  From other parts of this letter, we understood this to be for oak ‘starts’ and elm ‘floats’.  £224 had already been paid and there was a balance due of £212 13s 6d.  A comparison site suggests that this would be around £26,000 today.


Then in 1820 a letter from Thomas Simpson referring to two estimates for Water Wheels and Engines and pushing hard for the business – iron pipes had already been provided.  (H/C/3/2 11M49/E/B1/15/2).


Another document was a letter from architect Lewis Wyatt (1777-1853) dated November 1820 sent to the Rev J Orde, brother-in-law to the then Duke, and it seems, acting for him while the Duke vacated the house for the substantial work.  The Reverend Orde was vicar at nearby Winslade.

What next?  It is possible that the ironwork and the early use of iron pipes makes the structure worthy of Statutory Listing and we expect an application to be done by the Conservation Officer at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council in due course.


Milne’s Hampshire Map of 1791. Is this the Engine pumping water to Hackwood?

Editor’s note:  The report in Industrial Archaeology, A Guide published in 1975 by Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group (SUIAG), edited by Monica Ellis, reads:

On the opposite side of the A30 from Hackwood House is an iron waterwheel, about 6ft in width, breastshot, which used to drive pumps to supply water to the house.  The machinery is in a square brick building with a slate roof and is still used occasionally to supply water to some nearby estate cottages.

(Text by permission of Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Group, successor to SUIAG.) 

There are several similar (but probably newer) examples of water wheels in Hampshire that were used to pump water to country houses.  HMG looked at several of these, of which the two shown in my pictures below at Brambridge House (left) in 1993 and Worthy Park (right) in 2005, both on the River Itchen, are typical examples.




Back Up Next


horizontal rule

Copyright © 2024 Hampshire Mills Group
Registered as a Charity - 1116607