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Lister Water Pump Restoration

For many years there has been a 15m deep well at Pool Cottage, which is shared with our neighbour. Directly above the well is an old fashioned hand pump which was restored to working order nearly 20 years ago and still works when primed. However, next door, for many years, used an electrically powered pump, which fell into disrepair in the early 1980's when the smallholding went onto mains water and has stood idle and unused since.

The pump was "re-discovered" during the renovation of next door and was given to us as a restoration project. As expected, the pump and motor were totally seized and badly corroded, but looked complete. After an initial clean and some interweb research it was determined that the pump itself was a "Lister Domestic Water Pump", powered by a 1/2 horsepower "Hoover" manufactured 240v ac motor. The plates for both motor and pump are quite clear, but unfortunately, neither give any dates.

Given that the whole thing was locked solid, it seemed unlikely that the pump could be restored to working order, given it's age and likelihood of any available spares. To our surprise, The Lister pump and 1/2 HP motor are still made to this day and can be purchased together for just over £1800. Furthermore, a complete range of spares are available from a company called Stationary Engine Parts. Armed with this information the pump was carefully stripped and cleaned down to it's last nut and bolt. At this point we were able to determine what could be salvaged and what we needed to replace. To our amazement, Stationary Engine Parts were able to supply everything we needed, including the original Mid Brunswick shade of green paint and a reprint of the original sales brochure all for just over £100.

Once everything was stripped down and cleaned we were able to start the rebuild. All the brass components received a good buff and would remain unpainted to enhance the overall finish. The crankshaft bearings were replaced and at the pumping end of things, new leather cup washers were soaked in olive oil for nearly 3 weeks before assembly. New oil seals, gland packing and a full gasket set were used during the re-assembly process. The air chamber had split at some point and had been repaired, although watertight it wasn't a pretty repair so this was "cleaned up" ready for the re-paint.

Following the rebuild the casings were primed with Finnegan's No1 and given 2 coats of the Mid Brunswick enamel paint, which was a joy to apply and seeing the transformation from a rusty hulk of metal into a stunning piece of engineering, was worth the time spent on this project.

The Hoover motor was thoroughly cleaned and re-wired and when connected and switched on for the first time in more than 30 years, purred like a kitten. The pump and motor were then mated together, pulleys aligned, belt fitted and tensioned.

It was now time for the big test, would the pump run. The motor was switched on and the pump ran perfectly as the video shows:

The pump will never be used around the smallholding, we have no real need for it. But it was a pleasure to bring such a wonderful bit of engineering back to life and will take pride of place in the workshop. Next is a Lister engine of some description that was used to power a milking parlour and hasn't run for over 50 years. Don't you just love a challenge?

Garage 2
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