The Marine Engine House at Walthamstow Wetlands

The Marine Engine House at Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands Coppermill

The Coppermill

Mills have existed at Walthamstow since at least 1066, producing gunpowder, linseed oil and copper sheet. Find out more.

Constructed in 1894, the Marine Engine House is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. The building will be restored as a visitor centre, café, exhibition space, viewing terrace and educational space. 

The Marine Engine House will be repaired and refurbished sensitively, retaining its industrial feel, to become a free-to-access education and learning centre with associated amenities.

The proposal is that it will house:

  • Interpretation material on the site’s natural and industrial heritage and amenities;
  • A multifunctional educational space, created for use as a classroom and venue for seminars and events;
  • A ‘Water and Life’ exhibition, which will be a permanent exhibition focusing on water education, efficiency and quality, and will enable learning about water and sustainability and the impacts of climate change, with potential to monitor behavioural changes towards the use of water resources;
  • A central lobby area containing a reception and information resource;
  • A café with capacity to spill out onto an outdoor decked area;
  • Toilet facilities;
  • A modest retail outlet.

The end of the century saw the construction of the Ferry Lane Pumping Station in 1894. This was constructed to complement the development of the reservoir complex. It has more recently become known as the Marine Engine House.

The Marine Engine House, formerly known as the Ferry Lane Pumping Station, is located on the southern side of the railway. It was constructed in 1894 and is in the process of being locally listed. The Marine Engine House’s tower is shown on a photograph dated 1954 but is thought to have been removed a couple of years later.

The building is no longer in operational use and is instead used for storage and to accommodate the only visitor toilets on-site.

The building is relatively complex in form, but consists primarily of an (apparently) two-storey building (the Engine House) with a single storey building attached to its northern side.

To the west of this is a further parallel single storey building which includes, on its western side, the base of a now-demolished chimneystack.

The building is constructed throughout in brick and architecturally is in the simplified Italianate style much used for Victorian industrial buildings, with semi-circular heads to all of the principal door and window openings.

There is a relatively elaborate string course at mid-height and a highly detailed cornice to the two storey section with less elaborate details to the single storey buildings.

The roofs are generally finished in plain clay tiles with extensive use of patent glazed roof-lights and ridge lights in the single storey sections.

The roof of the Engine House is pitched at around 45 degrees, and is half-hipped at its northern and southern ends. Doors and window frames are in painted softwood.

Despite the missing chimney, and some external alterations, the building is still an imposing piece of Victorian industrial architecture.

It has a mixture of interesting and utilitarian interiors. The Engine House, and the Pump Room at the extreme northern end of the building, both have interesting interiors – in the latter case this is greatly enhanced by the surviving equipment.

Walthamstow Wetlands Marine Engine House with chimney

The Marine Engine House with chimney intact.