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Cambridge Museum of Technology closes its doors for £1m one-year redevelopment


By Ben Comber


Cambridge Museum Of Technology, The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge which is closing for a year while the renovate and update the site, from left Assistant Curator Morgan Bell with Museum Curator Pam Halls beside ome of the engines. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Museum Of Technology, The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge which is closing for a year while the renovate and update the site, from left Assistant Curator Morgan Bell with Museum Curator Pam Halls beside ome of the engines. Picture: Keith Heppell

After winning two grants, totalling more than £1million, the Cambridge Museum of Technology has closed its doors to the public for one year to undergo an ambitious revamp.

Cambridge Museum Of Technology, The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge which is closing for a year while the renovate and update the site, from left Museum Curator Pam Halls with Assistant Curator Morgan Bell by the boiler which is bering stripped and refurbished. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Museum Of Technology, The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge which is closing for a year while the renovate and update the site, from left Museum Curator Pam Halls with Assistant Curator Morgan Bell by the boiler which is bering stripped and refurbished. Picture: Keith Heppell

The museum, situated in the Old Pumping Station by the River Cam on Cheddars Lane, was founded as a charity in 1970 and features among its varied displays some of the machinery and engineering that has revolutionised industry.

A £1.32million Heritage Lottery Fund means a visitor centre can be built on the site, with a café overlooking the river, and a Historic England grant means the museum’s boiler can be fixed. This, however, is not a job you’d call the gas man for.

Pam Halls, the museum curator, said: “It’s not your ordinary boiler you’d find in a house. It’s from 1923 and as big as a bus. It would create the steam that would pump the city’s sewage, and it was working up until 2014 when it gave up the ghost.

“We’re often called the steam museum, but we’ve been collecting artefacts from other industries and when we reopen we’ll have the chance to put some of these items on display, such as a geoscan that was used to scan the moon rocks collected by NASA, which has never been on display.

Cambridge Museum Of Technology, The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge which is closing for a year while the renovate and update the site, from left Assistant Curator Morgan Bell with Museum Curator Pam Halls beside ome of the engines. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Museum Of Technology, The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge which is closing for a year while the renovate and update the site, from left Assistant Curator Morgan Bell with Museum Curator Pam Halls beside ome of the engines. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We’ve teamed up with the Pye History Trust to put on a display of Pye electronics. Everyone in Cambridge used to work at Pye, or knew someone who did.

“We’ve been working towards this for what feels like years and it’s a massive project for the museum.

“We’re assuming that the building will last into autumn and we’ll be able to open in 2019, but we haven’t got an exact date.”

As well as improving the displays, the team behind the museum also want businesses to consider the site as a quirky venue for events, and the ambitions go further still.

“This is just the beginning in the journey to make the museum a beacon of engineering and technological achievement,” a statement said, “highlighting all aspects from the – perhaps less attractive – processing of the city’s waste to the clever technological answers to difficult problems of increasing population and beyond.

“The world needs more engineers and a greater understanding of the benefits of engineering.

“We feel our opportunity, location and history allow us to do this in a way more engaging than almost any other. And we feel we owe this to the world of engineering, technology and to society.”



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