In recent years, TCPS have hosted visits from a number of local primary schools and have provided practical illustrations and demonstrations of how the implementation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) principles have provided a safe and healthy water supply to Darlington and the Tees Valley, since 1849. Positive feedback from the schools has provided evidence that the children really enjoy the experience and take away a better understanding of many aspects of STEM

We would now like to extend the invitation to secondary schools, colleges and other sites of further education. In this context we would envisage visits by smaller groups of students with interest in specific STEM topics. This could be in the form of technical investigations or projects.

Prior to any educational visit we recommend that we hold a pre-meeting such that a visit or project agenda can be developed to match the exact requirements of the educational establishment or individual student.

We are grateful for the support of Cummins, Northumbrian Water and River Tees Rediscovered in the delivery of our STEM programme.

We can take you back to Victorian times, when in 1849, Tees Cottage Pumping Station began supplying water to Darlington.

We have two completely original pumping engines in full working order, which are displayed running on our open days. The engines at Tees Cottage pumped water from the River Tees, which was then filtered and supplied to the water company’s customers.

Visits can be linked to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), and to cross-curricular themes. The Pumping Station offers opportunities for learning outside the classroom and for the development of key skills. School visits can if desired, be arranged for almost any Wednesday when a full complement of volunteers will be available to deliver demonstrations and lead guided tours.

At the present time we have interactive demonstrations of filtration and pumping, both of which provided an integral part of the site water treatment and delivery processes. In addition, the site visit will highlight many facets of STEM and their development over the past 170 years, for example:

  • mechanical engineering
  • materials of construction
  • sources of energy
  • working with metal in the Smithy,
  • chemistry of gas production.

Our volunteers are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, competent and friendly and are  especially happy to tailor visits to suit your requirements.

In association with the Tees Rivers Trust, we can also include a visit to the adjacent River Tees at which there will be discussion and interactive demonstrations of local river life.

Letter received from Pete King, Headmaster, Mowden Junior School:

Ninety children from Year 5 at Mowden Junior School attended last week as part of our topic on the River Tees. Martyn Brown and his team of volunteers put on an excellent day, which I attended too. The pumping station highlights Darlington's industrial past really well and the children learned all about how the Tees was first used to provide clean water for the town during Victorian times. The children experienced how water filtration works, learned how steam pumped water to a reservoir that once stood next to our school and about the wide variety of mini-beast wildlife found in the river.

It's a great local resource, right on our doorstep and the children have written thank you letters showing their appreciation.

Arrange a school visit

To arrange a school visit of for more information, contact us at