Compressed Air Sewerage System

In 1902 Gosport¬† was brought up-to-date with the latest technology for disposing of its effluent. A Compressed Air Pumping Station was built at the Council’s Westfield Road Depot and a system of pipes carried compressed air throughout the borough. It was used to control ejector pumps that raised the level of effluent in pipes running along the main roads of the town. A total of 26 miles of sewer were laid with an outfall at Stokes Bay with lowest tender for the work being ¬£77,260.

 

Gosport Compressed Air Pumping Station 1919

Gosport Compressed Air Pumping Station 1919

Gosport Depot 1933

Gosport Depot 1933

The building that housed the compressed air pumps is still there at the Westfield Road depot but changed and extended.

Westfield Road Pumping Station

Westfield Road Pumping Station

Westfield Road Pumping Station 2

Westfield Road Pumping Station

Sadly the pumps have not survived but here they are in working condition.

Pumping Station

Inside the Pumping Station

Pumping Station

Pumping Station

Pumping Station

Pumping Station

The pumping Station can be seen in the background of this old photo of the Westfield Road Depot

The pumping Station can be seen in the background of this old photo of the Westfield Road Depot

To dispose of effluent and rain water efficiently pipes need to run downhill. The run of a pipe is limited and when it reaches a certain depth the effluent needs to be raised to a higher level to enter the next pipe run. In order to achieve this ejectors were fitted at key points in the system, actuated by the compressed air.


According to the Gosport Borough Council Minutes in 1904 that there was 10 miles of Air Main with
50 stop valves.
There were originally 17 ejectors.
Number 18 at Priddy’s Hard which was completed some time after the rest because the contractor was forbidden to use mechanical excavators or pumps.


Ejector chambers were fitted at:
1 Hardway Priory Road
2 Elson & Fort Brockhurst Elson Cross
3 Fort Elson
4 Brockhurst & Fort Rowner Cambridge Road
5 Grove Road Stony Butts
6 Mill Lane
7 The Green Quay Lane
8 St Matthew’s Square adjoining Church
9 Trafalgar Square adjoining Waterworks
10 Alver Road vent “near Gasworks”
11 Newtown
12 Bury Cross near Wiltshire Lamb
13 Clayhall Road ?+Hospital/Gunboat Yard?
14 Fort Monckton
15 Alverstoke Paget Road
16 Fort Gomer
17 Fort Grange
18 Priddy’s Hard.


Vestiges of the compressed air system can be found at various locations across Gosport.
Plates identified and marked the various stop valves.

Brockhurst Road

Brockhurst Road near Cambridge Road

Anns Hill Road at Middlecroft Lane

Anns Hill Road at Middlecroft Lane

Bury Road

Bury Road


The stop valve covers have survived in various places.

Anns Hill Road near Wilmott Lane

Anns Hill Road near Wilmott Lane

Bury Road

Bury Road

Elson Crossroads new the Church

Elson Crossroads near the Church


The modern pumps that replaced the ejectors are beneath the road close to where the big green cabinets containing the power and controls can be seen at Cambridge Road, Bury Cross and at other key points.

Modern pump at Bury Cross

Modern pump controls at Bury Cross

Elson Pump: Note the stench pipe to release gasses that build up in the system

Elson pump controls: Note the stench pipe to release gasses that build up in the system


I have located the following remaining stop valve plates and covers:

Location Plate Nos Valves
Anns Hill/Wilmott 1 10 to 17 1
Bury Road 1 10, 11 1
Brockhurst Road/Cambridge 1 1,2,3,18 1
Elson Church/Elson Road 2
Clayhall Road 1
Middlecroft Lane/Anns Hill 1 1,2,3,12
Village Road/Paget Road 1
St Thomas’s Road 1


There may be more out there waiting to be discovered!

A tram stands outside the Wiltshire Lamb Beside it can be seen one of the old ornate cast-iron stench pipes.

A No.4 tram stands outside the Wiltshire Lamb. Beside it can be seen one of the old, ornate cast-iron stench pipes.


I have not identified which type of ejector pump was installed. They may have been the same type that was fitted to London’s sewerage system, built by Isacc Shone.

Shone Ejector

Shone Ejector


Isaac Shone’s Pneumatic Sewerage System, circa 1884. This system was successfully used in London. It is a “separate” system, with sewage and rainwater disposed of by separated systems. Gravity delivers sewage to district collectors, then pneumatic ejectors raise sewage and deliver it to disposal points.

More on the Shone Ejector

I am always pleased to hear of more the remains of this sewerage system if you spot them.
Thanks to Terry Rendall for checking the veracity of this page.