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The steam engines of Brede

See the history of British steam engineering in action at the Brede Water Heritage site.

Facilities & access

  • Free entry Free entry
  •  Free parking Free parking
  • Refreshments Refreshments
  • Accessible toilet Accessible toilet
  • Souvenir shop Souvenir shop

The steam engines of Brede

The steam giants of Brede

Nowadays we take it for granted that we can turn on the tap and quality water comes out. But getting the water to your tap requires networks of pipes and high pressure pumps. 

In the 1900s, we relied heavily on steam-powered water pumps to lift water from deep wells into treatment works. The clean water would then be pumped to local reservoirs which were built on high ground. Gravity could help distribute the water to homes and businesses in Hastings.

Today, the Grade II listed engine houses at the Brede waterworks site are home to two original, 30ft high triple expansion steam engines.

The tall brick engine houses display striking late Victorian and Art Deco architectural features of the late 1890s and 1930s.

Education at Brede

The Brede Water Heritage site is an amazing place to learn about not just the steam water pumps but also the water cycle and how we use water.

Children, students, and adults alike will love having a go at moving water around with some of our smaller pumps. You can also learn about the local history and discover a perfectly preserved World War bunker.

If you'd like to arrange a group visit to the site, please email bredesteamgiants@hotmail.com. Although admission is usually free, group tours may be subject to a charge to cover running expenses.

A teenager crouches and scoops water from a stream while three other children watch on

Looking after our history

These heritage steam giants are preserved for all to enjoy thanks to the efforts of the Brede Steam Engine Society. 

Their passion for the subject and hard work, all done on a voluntary basis, is what makes the Brede Water Heritage site such a unique day out.

If you share this enthusiasm and want to help preserve this fascinating piece of history, the society is always happy to welcome new members.

When to visit

Public open days are the first Saturday of every month and every Bank Holiday Monday throughout the year from 10am–4pm.

Entry is normally free with the occasional exception for special event days, and there is also free parking at these times. Free guided tours are also available.

The site welcomes any donations to help keep the experience open to all.

Facilities Getting to Brede
Activities Image

Grab a light bite to eat (including a delicious selection of homemade cakes) or a hot drink at the Tangye Tea Bar.

Remember your day with a unique souvenir, such as a beautiful postcard hand-crafted by the site's resident artist.

There is a fully accessible toilet onsite, by way of a shallow ramp.

Baby changing facilities are available in the accessible toilet.

The site is roughly six miles from Hastings along the A28 road to Ashford. Look out for a narrow left turn (when approaching from Hastings) near the top of Brede Hill by the 40mph sign and just before the Red Lion public house.

Free parking is available on open days.

Admission is usually free. There may occasionally be a charge for special event days or group bookings.

How to find the heritage site

The Brede Water Heritage site is around 6 miles outside Hastings along the A28 road. Parking is available on open days.

An illustrated outline of a location marker with a 'P' in the middle

Waterworks Lane Brede RYE East Sussex TN31 6HG

For general enquiries: bredesteamgiants@hotmail.com

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