National Trust ‘turns the screw’ in London with first hydroelectric turbine for the capital

Today, the National Trust started London’s first ever Archimedes Screw hydroelectric turbine at MordenHallPark in south west London, in its continuing bid to harness greener energy at its properties.

The Archimedes Screw turbine will generate enough electricity to power the Park’s new award-winning visitor centre.  By acting like a modern waterwheel it will harness the power of the river to generate electricity.  It is estimated that it will generate 59,000 kWh a year – enough for about 16 average households.

The turbine is sited in the river Wandle and was ‘switched on’ by Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, in the presence of Rt Hon Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change who congratulated the Trust’s green energy vision.   He said: “It’s great to see the National Trust getting on board with clean green power with the launch of a hydro power turbine on its Morden Hall Park estate.

“Not only will this new kit help power Morden Hall’s new visitor centre, the project will help educate visitors about this type of energy and the benefits of renewable energy too.”

Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust added: “The Trust has a clear goal to cut fossil fuel use by 50 per cent by 2020.  We want to move away from our reliance on oil to introduce green energy wherever possible across our properties and special places. 

“Here at Morden it is fantastic to see how we have installed a modern ‘water wheel’ to harness the power of the river.  It is the final stage of a pioneering project and also takes us back to the reason this very park exists – water power [1].”

The installation is the final phase of an exciting two-year project supported by a £990,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to transform the park’s semi-derelict stable yard into a vibrant new visitor centre expected to be the most energy efficient historic building in the country. The turbine will contribute to energy needs which are also being met by three different sorts of solar panels, an air source heat pump and a wood burning stove.

Wesley Kerr, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London said: “This is an innovative and exemplary approach to restoration, conservation and interpretation. The addition of the Archimedes Screw to the restored historic features of Morden Hall Park makes this a genuinely sustainable ‘deep green’ heritage project – simultaneously bringing alive the industry of the past whilst embracing that of the future. This whole scheme is an exemplar of what can be achieved in public parks.”

The newly restored Victorian stable yard at MordenHallPark houses a permanent, interactive “Livinggreen” exhibition about sustainable green living and renewable energy, a changing community exhibition area, National Trust offices, craft stalls for local artists, water-saving eco loos and a small café.  The stable yard and the turbine provide an excellent opportunity for local people to learn about renewable energy and water power.

The Archimedes Screw turbine was also funded by the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust and Thames Water.

City Bridge Trust’s chairman, Billy Dove MBE JP, commented: “The project that the National Trust have undertaken at MordenHallPark is truly an inspiring example of how technologies old and new can be used to create a more sustainable environment.  We are delighted to have supported this landmark installation and hope that it inspires people for years to come.”

Helen Newman, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Thames Water also commented: “We are really proud to be associated with this project which is providing a sustainable power solution for the new visitor centre, whilst also reminding us of why water is so valuable.”

The Archimedes Screw turbine was installed by Mackley Construction and Hallidays Hydropower. 

Visitors will be able to see the turbine on regular tours. Visitors can also receive advice on how they can save energy themselves during personal advice sessions on 28 November. Find out more on the project blog:


One thought on “National Trust ‘turns the screw’ in London with first hydroelectric turbine for the capital

  1. Pingback: London with first hydroelectric turbine | energy for london

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