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MEMBERS: Cllr Mitchell (Chairman), Cllrs Dellow, Irwin
Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council), Councillor Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council)

Mrs P Raymond (Clerk/RFO)


Terms of Reference

  1. To decide what future maintenance/repair should be undertaken of the Grade II listed Pumphouse, its lead pump and oak seats.
  2. To recommend to the Finance Committee how future maintenance should be paid for and what grand aid applications should be made.
  3. To make the necessary arrangements as required by the funders including ways of involving the local community.
H09/10.7 Apologies and reasons for absence. Apology for absence was received from Cllr Martin (holiday).
H09/10.8 Disclosure by Members of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regarded the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. None declared.
H09/10.9 Prejudiced members to speak. None.
H09/10.10 Public participation session. No public present
H09/10.11 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Heritage Committee held on 28/07/09.
H09/10.12 Scale Drawing of the Pumphouse. Members were shown the scale drawing of the Pumphouse produced by Pumphouse Designs Limited of Sedlescombe. Three copies had been provided.

Reports regarding proposed repairs to the Pumphouse and seats. Following a report from Cllr Rand, it was RESOLVED: That Cllr Rand should draft a specification covering the following work at the Pumphouse to be sent to local builders:

  1. Repairs to the two oak benches
  2. Replacement of the metal grilling around the internal sandstone pillars to include a gate and more ornate grilles (see H09/10.16 below)
  3. Roof repairs
  4. Redecoration of the exposed roof timbers
  5. Repointing slabs

RESOLVED: That listed building advice should be sought in preparation for obtaining listed building consent.


Correspondence from the holder of the National Register of Village Pumps. The Clerk reported on correspondence she had had with the holder of the National Register of Village Pumps (Dick Williams). Sedlescombe's pump and pumphouse are now included in the register. The following description is included with the register entry:

An unusual pump under an imposing Grade II listed shelter at Sedlescombe. East Sussex. Photo supplied by Paul Snelling - thanks Paul. The pump, unfortunately needing to be protected by an ugly steel cage, is entirely covered in a lead veneer and is surmounted by a leaden urn. I've not seen this technique used anywhere else. There are worrysome (sic) signs that its internal structure is failing but there are hopes for its restoration by the local Parish Council, who have very helpfully put extracts from their old meeting minutes online and I've extracted some of these to illustrate a short history of the pump. One face of the pump carries the following inscription:







Markings: None other reported

Manufacturer: Unk, but replacement supplied by W.C.Till of Battle in 1933


Mr Williams had also written that he has registered over 2,500 pumps across the UK, and has many old manufacturers' catalogues, but has never come across another pump of the same design, or that uses so much lead. Normally, the lead part is simply a small square supported by an internal metal frame whereas Sedlescombe's is a lead veneer over an oak liner.


Issues regarding restoration of the pump. The Committee considered the Clerk's list of possible scenarios as follows:

  1. An authentic restoration of the existing internal water pump to its original state and in full working condition and then restoration of the outer casing.
    1. Problems - Water table may have dropped significantly from its original level and the pump will no longer reach the water source. If the water is contaminated, it will not be allowed to be used. There may be special regulations as the Pumphouse is a listed building. It may be difficult, although not impossible, to access replacement parts. It is likely to be expensive.
  2. Installation of a modern replica pump to bring the pump to full working condition and then restoration of the outer casing.
    1. Problems similar to 1. above.
  3. A cosmetic renovation that aims to retain the original look of the outer casing only but is non-working.
    1. Problems - There may be special regulations as the Pumphouse is a listed building. It will not be cheap.

Members supported the idea of trying to get the pump back into working order, although it would be kept locked for most of the time. This would not only be a tourist attraction to an historical feature but would be educational for the schoolchildren. It was suggested the children could follow the progress of the restoration and that a DVD of the restoration could be made. The Village Pumps website contains much useful information regarding companies that could help find parts etc.The problem that the water could be polluted would need to be tackled but it was suggested that it might be possible to seal off the well and to introduce wholesome water for demonstrations of water pumping.


Although one quote had been received for restoring the inner wooden liner and the outer lead decorative casing from an expert lead firm, it was agreed that the Clerk should give another local firm the opportunity to quote.


It was agreed that the work should be divided up:

  1. Removal from the site of the lead outer casing to safe storage.
  2. Removal from the site of the wooden inner casing.
  3. Inspection and removal of the pump workings.
  4. Check of water quality in the well.
  5. Depending on results, either try to get the pump working again before replacing the inner and outer casings or simply replace the inner and outer casings as part of a cosmetic restoration.
H09/10/16 Metal grille. The 20-year-old existing grille around the lead pump is unattractive. The Committee supported construction of a more ornate grille moved further out from the pump to safeguard the new lead. A gate should be included for easy access. The idea of having symbols of Sedlescombe, eg a chestnut tree and the Parish Church, included in the grille design was suggested.

Funding the work

  1. Heritage Lottery. The Clerk reported that the project had been registered with the Heritage Lottery. The educational aspect of the project would be a crucial part.
  2. Awards for All. Up to £10,000 could be available.
  3. Rother District Council. Cllr Ganly had suggested at the last Council Meeting that Rother DC was interested in supporting rural projects as well as large projects in Bexhill. The Committee agreed that this source of funding should be tried first.
  4. Other. Cllr Dellow reported that a May Fayre was proposed in 2010 on the Village Green and that funds raised from the Fayre could be put towards restoration of the pump.
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