Friday, 19 February 2010

And lo' he turned water into energy

Leamington Spa has grown up around the River Leam. The waterway, which flows from Northamptonshire to the River Avon, has been the source of energy for the community since Anglo-Saxon times. And since the Doomsday book of 1086, there have been watermills on the Leam, near Mill Bridge which serviced the town for 1000 years.

So why the history lesson?

Well, it is because a variety of local groups have decided it is time to kick-start the use of water-generated energy on the Leam again and reinstall a turbine on Mill Bridge. The proposal has been prepared by Encraft, an engineering consultancy.

Water power is a superb way of generating energy. It is cheap (once the turbine has been built), it is clean, reliable and unlike solar energy, it can be generated constantly. Hopefully, we can learn something from the Victorians, who installed a water pumping turbine in the bridge abutment on the orders of William Louis de Normanville only to be decommissioned in the 1940s.

A talk in the Pyne Room at Warwick School will give an overview of the exciting history of water generation at Mill Bridge. Matthew Rhodes (MD Encraft) and Bernard Perkins (a director of Action 21) will be taking the talk and describing how the project could be put into operation as well as outlining the obstacles involved.

The talk is on Thursday, March 11th and is entitled, "Bringing history to life on the Leam: Can de Normanville's turbines run again?" It is hosted by Warwickshire Industrial Archaeological Society. The talk promises to be highly interesting and should give some pointers about learning from old ideas in order to work towards a sustainable future.

For more info on how Action 21 is working to get Leamington supplied with hydro-power, visit