Lurking in the shrubbery

The garden at the front of our croft house has a large garden feature, consisting of a pond set in a raised drystone border and surrounded by a mass of shrubbery. The plants block the low winter sun from the downstairs bedroom and living room, so I decided to clear the worst offenders out. In doing so, I found an antique cast-iron water pump set against the mortared wall at the end of the garden.

The pump appears to be quite old, possibly as old as the wall. It was originally mounted on a wooden block set into the wall but the wood has rotted, allowing the pump to detach and hang forward.

The pump no longer functions, although the lever is still free and can be moved. A pipe descends beneath it, so it’s possible there’s a covered well below the wall. We knew there was a well in the front garden, about 20 feet from the pump, but this was filled with boulders before we moved in and turfed over.

The pump has no maker’s name, but does have a small raised flag on one side and an “All British Made” moulding. According to the Village Pumps website, these identify it as a Lee, Howl and Co. pump made in Tipton, Staffordshire. In my view, it’s a much more attractive garden feature than the rancid pond and gloomy shrubbery. I’m tempted to clear the latter out entirely, restore the pump and add a stone trough. Not only would it look better and not block the sun, but it may also give us an alternative non-potable water supply in the event of power failures.

9 Responses to “Lurking in the shrubbery”

  1. W.D 40 always do’s the trick.

  2. That’s an awesome find, love those old pumps.

  3. Nice find Stoney! If you can work out a way to hold it in place, molasses can work on rusted solid objects over a couple of months. Some sort of skirt clamped around the area, with putty to seal it up, then fill with molasses to cover rusted nuts. Imagination should make it work and that is something you have plenty of mate.

  4. a good find, hope the restoration goes well

  5. Hi – yes, it’s a Lee Howl Colonial pump, possibly Victorian, although this popular model was sold for some long time (the 3″ bore version cost all of 27/- in 1938). It’s eminently restorable – this type of pump is the easiest to restore as both of its valves are above ground. There are some provisos though, and I’ll e-mail you separately on these.
    Dick Williams

  6. I think the pump is awesome, I love a little history and an antique in a garden has a story we can only imagine!

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