Both Paul and I have been intrigued with technologies employed in mansion-house design and management. Both from a general interest in technology development but also seeing early approaches to dealing with problems we have to deal with today. Water, waste, energy, heat and so on. Quite a bit of survey work has been going on for the last few decades around the country. Water supply and management has involved quite a bit of work. The underground vaulted tanks at Plas Newydd, Chirk Castles rain water harvesting cisterns and the cavernous water tanks at Penrhyn Castle are testament to this and three places I want to visit (some people like paintings we like drains!)
Kathy Laws the National Trust archeologist bought to my attention a mysterious building and some associated structures in the woodland at Penrhyn which need surveying and recording (any budding volunteer archeologists out there?) The building from her images said ‘Ram Pump’ to me. I was hooked! (so was Paul after we had a chat) a few aborted walks in the dense and being cleared woodland of the castle and we found what Kathy had been taking about. The Ram pump Building down by the river Ogwen. What i was surprised was the large number of small structures through the woodland (a few dozen… but how they link i don’t know?). The Gardner later told us the site had its pumps right up until the eighties and then they ‘mysteriously’ disappeared. He also mentioned what he called ‘the old ice house’ which we also found. as Penrhyn is now our new office I have a feeling we will be visiting the woods quite a bit in the coming year!
Some links on the country house technologies