As well as maintaining the historic pump house building and Marshall ‘C’ type engines the museum has collected hundreds of items of a technological or industrial nature, mainly related to five principal themes:
• Reciprocating steam engines
• Pumps and pumping
• Local transport
• Local manufacturing
The primary exhibits are the Pump House itself and the two Marshall steam pumping engines. In addition, the museum houses a single cylinder engine built by students at Loughborough College. It is connected by overhead line shafts and belts to several pieces of workshop machinery in our non-electric workshop and is operated on Engine Running Days together with one of the Marshall engines.
Interior of the pump house and Marshall steam engines.
All the original pumps used for lifting sewage have been removed and there is now a collection of various types of pumps and compressors, several of which are driven by small internal combustion engines. These demonstrate many of the methods devised over the centuries to move and compress fluids in both gaseous and liquid form.
An extensive collection of fire-fighting equipment includes a rare late-Victorian Merryweather horse-drawn, manually operated fire pump used in Leyton and a Dennis fire engine of the 1960s which featured in the long-running TV series 'London's Burning'.
Developments in road and rail transport in the area are represented by many small objects and models, including a working model railway layout representing Walthamstow Hoe Street and Queen's Road stations as they were in the 1960s, a model reconstruction of Station Road in Chingford and a two-thirds scale model of the famous 'B'-type bus manufactured in Walthamstow in the early 1900s by the Associated Equipment Company (AEC). The museum also houses several original vehicles, including a 1967 Victoria Line underground car with driver's cab.
Walthamstow and its immediate surrounds was a major manufacturing area, part of London's industrial backbone along the Lower Lea Valley. As well as AEC, a number of major firms with household names were based here, including the JAP company (manufacturers of internal combustion engines used in motorcycles, cars and aircraft), Houghtons Ltd. (manufacturer of Ensign cameras), Phillips Records Ltd. (record pressing).