Just as I was about to start I got the latest New Zealand Memories Magazine from the Thames Library. (Issue 138) There is a four page article "The Bella Street Pumphouse" by Bella Street Pumphouse Society.
The problems of groundwater and the impact it had on mining are discussed. Hence the "Hauraki Mining Company constructed the Thames Hauraki Pump House (now called the Bella Street Pumphouse) at the site of the Queen of Beauty Mine, in 1898." page 8
|Thames Hauraki Pump and Shaft c1900 (St James Church Spire built 1898 can be seen top left)|
The poppet heads that were dotted around the town, were built over mine shafts and housed the mechanism to lower cages up and down the shaft - carrying miners to and fro, along with transporting ore to the surface.
The Poppet head and Pump House under Construction
Now at last to the photo that triggered the need for the post. The poppet head looks near completed, while the boilers are just arriving - the building of the pumphouse underway.
Big Pump under construction, corner Bella, Cochrane Streets and Waiokaraka Road.
Source: Thames Museum Collection
|The men atop the poppet head.|
Poppet Head facts:
"The four legs of the poppet head were made of kauri. They were approximately 19.8m long measuring 76cm at the base and tapering to 45cm at the top. Each leg was set in sole pieces and were firmly embedded in concrete. The whole structure was firmly braced together. On top were two sheave wheels 2.7m in diameter. The whole structure was capable of bearing a transverse working strain of 400 tons."
Delivery of a boiler, Bella Street, Thames.
Background news reports:
THAMES STAR, 14 DECEMBER 1896: Work was ready to begin on the new poppet head.
THAMES STAR, 31 MAY 1897: Work on concrete foundations for pumping plant advanced, plus good progress on the brickworks which included the large chimney.
THAMES STAR, 20 DECEMBER 1898: Opening of the Thames - Hauraki Pumping Plant.
Crowds assembled outside the Thames Hauraki Pumping Works for the opening 19 December 1898.
Source: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-18981230-3-2
Below: 2016 view of the Bella Street Pumphouse.