A day out at Papplewick Pumping Station may not be on everybody’s agenda, inspecting Victorian water works, or any anybody else’s waterworks for that matter, but it could, especially when it’s for free as part of the Radio Nottingham Big Day Out. Initial suggestions at visiting Papplewick Pumping Station are filled with thoughts of dour Victorian gentleman in tail coats with magnificently kept moustaches marvelling over mechanical masterpieces while kids are playing in coal dust ‘cos there’s now’t better to do for the young rapscallions apart from scuttle up tall chimneys sweeping up soot for their tea.
Amazingly, this engineering leviathan of Victorian age is still in operation after 150 years and continues to supply water to Nottingham using electrical pumps housed in modern buildings. Granted, it has had some restoration with a reopening in 2005 but you can’t knock Victorian craftsmanship. Stained glass windows, ornate decorations with polished brass and mahogany pieces stand as a statement of flair and pride. Try saying that about a Barratt house in 150 years.
Also part of the Radio Nottingham Big Day Out is a viewing of a reconstruction of an Iron Age Roundhouse in Calverton. Built as part of a research project by an archaeology student, the roundhouse is built using methods and materials circa 500 BC and would have housed an extended family between 12 – 20 people. Chuck a few hazel stakes in the ground, haul up some oak beams, whittle some willow with wattle and daub thrown in and paint with limewash. Now once you’ve obtained planning permission (yes, seriously) and mustered enough like-minded student manpower every Sunday for 18 months, you too could have a 32 foot diameter and 25 foot tall thatched roundhouse. No mod cons included. Like a back to basics bronze age barrack block. Trust me, I’ve slept in Forces accommodation worse than this. Not sure how it stands for bricks & mortar insurance, mainly because there isn’t any.