Saturday, 11 January 2014

"Biggest Drain Cover I Have Ever Seen" turns out to be "Not A Drain Cover After All"

Today at Markfield Park we saw what I thought must be the biggest drain cover I had ever seen in my life.

The plate bore the words:

For human scale

Later whilst looking up "GIANT DRAIN COVERS" and other desultory diversions online, I learnt that it had not been a drain cover I had seen, but a weighbridge!

W & T Avery Ltd. had been a British manufacturer of purely mechanical weighing machines since the 18th century. They had a foundry and produced all sorts and sizes of mechanical weighing scales. A weighbridge is apparently just a very large scale that is mounted onto a concrete foundation and can be used to measure entire vehicles and their contents. Presumably this must have been used to measure the coal for Wood Brothers' Beam Steam Pumping Engine which was used to pump sewage and water as part of the Tottenham sewage treatment works and pumping station from 1888 onwards. The engine has been restored in the building behind (Markfield Beam Engine Museum) and there are apparently STEAM DAYS on special designated days...

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