The beating heart of the Waterworks Museum – Hereford is the Worth Mackenzie triple-expansion steam engine. Standing two storeys high, it was installed in 1895 to provide Hereford with a reliable supply of drinking water. Pumping one million gallons every twelve hours the engine stayed in service through the Second World War and finally ceased operation in the 1950s. Restored to working condition by the original volunteer engineers of the Waterworks Museum in the 1970s, the engine remains the oldest working triple-expansion steam engine in Britain.
This has been recognised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) which has granted the Museum its prestigious Engineering Heritage Award as recognition of the part played by the engine over many years. The award letter noted that:
The Engineering Heritage Awards celebrate the contribution of mechanical engineering to our past and present
The award, a magnificent plaque, was presented to the Museum by Mr John Wood, past President of the IMechE, and now Chairman of the IMechE Engineering Heritage Awards committee. The presentation took place against the magnificent backdrop of the engine in full steam on Monday 7th May 2018. Following the presentation Mr Wood, and other honoured guests from the Worcester and South Wales branches of the IMechE, toured the site hosted by Museum Chairman Richard Curtis.
Immediately following the visit John Wood wrote:
It really was a very special occasion and we were most impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved. What you have achieved at Broomy Hill is something quite outstanding and a model of how to make engineering heritage come alive in a way that can appeal to the widest possible audience.
This award is the highest engineering honour which can be bestowed on an industrial heritage organisation and one which the Trustees of the Waterworks Museum in Hereford are immensely proud to receive. It really supports the award of the title, a site of clear national importance, given to the Museum a quarter century ago.