Pode Hole post office
The sluices at the pumping station in the distance
This is one of the oldest buildings in Bourne Road, and two of the newest.
Classic ribbon development.
Pode Hole shown within Lincolnshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||PE11 3|
|Dialling code||01775 89|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||South Holland and The Deepings|
Pode Hole is a small village 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west of the centre of Spalding in Lincolnshire, England, at the confluence of several drainage channels. Two pumping stations discharge water into Vernatt's Drain from land in Deeping Fen to the South and West. Water from Pinchbeck South Fen to the North is also lifted into Vernatt's Drain. The village arose to service the pumping stations.
The village is largely a Ribbon development stretching from the Pumping stations and the Fisherman's arms along Bourne Road toward Spalding. The village post office and small shop is now also a bed and breakfast, and an outside catering service.
No separate population statistic is available for Pode Hole. The best available report is for the whole Pinchbeck civil parish, which covers several settlements north and east of Spalding with a total of 5,153.
Pumping stations were installed because the cill at Vernatt's Sluice, where the drain discharges into the Welland above Spalding, was higher than the cill of the precursor sluices at Pode Hole. The fen drains could not naturally discharge into Vernatt's Drain. There was a history of windmill-driven pumps and later small steam engines across The Fens but the two engines at Pode Hole were the first of the large scale pumping efforts, and an encouragement to later schemes.
John Rennie was consulted in 1818, and he proposed diverting the upper reaches of Vernatt's Drain from the Welland to the Witham to improve the fall. It is unclear if this would have worked, but the funds were not available and a later proposal for steam engines at Pode Hole was interrupted by his death. In the end an engineer called Benjamin Bevan appointed by the commissioners placed orders for two beam engines from separate engineers, Fenton and Murray of Leeds, and Butterley of Derby. The first was 60hp, the second 80hp. Butterley supplied both scoop wheels. The engines started work early in 1825, and continued in use until 1925.
A third steam engine was erected on the North bank of Vernatt's drain to lift water from Pinchbeck South Fen. This operated between the early 1830s until the end of the century. This was built as much because that fen was under separate control for those years as because the capacity was required. The water from the South drain is piped under Vernatt's drain to the Pode Hole station, much as it was tunnelled before the 1830 engine was built. (The idea of a tunnel under a river is not unique. Not far away at Bourne South Fen Gilbert Heathcote's tunnel was built under the River Glen, and might have been the inspiration for the system at Pode Hole.)
The beam engines were maintained in storage until 1952, but then scrapped. Diesel engines were already in use across the fens when Pode Hole was modernised in 1925. The current Ruston diesel engines date from 1964 and vertical axis axial flow Foster Gwynnes pumps are driven by David Brown gear boxes. The second station alongside uses electric pumps and was built in the 1960s.
The original pumping station building is a major feature in the village, and is still in use for workshops and a small museum. The by-laws of the original commissioners are prominently posted on the outside.
- Pinchbeck Engine An intact beam engine & scoop wheel pumping station maintained as a museum by the Welland and Deeping IDB
- Wheeler M.Inst.C.E, William Henry (1896). A History of the Fens of South Lincolnshire, being a description of the rivers Witham and Welland and their estuary, and an account of the Reclamation, Drainage, and Enclosure of the fens adjacent thereto. (2nd ed.). J.M. Newcombe (Boston), Simpkin, Marshall & Co. (London). doi:10.1680/ahotfosl2e.50358.
- Office for National Statistics web site, 2001 census
- An Archaeological walk through Castle Bytham. Heckington: Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire. 2004. p. 6. Description of a field named Pode Hole in a nearby village
- Robin Bush, Julian Comrie (1 Oct 1994). Somerset: The Complete Guide. Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-874336-26-6. Attributes Somerset village name Podimore to frogs, saying pode=frog
- Welland and Deepings IDB
- Most of this section taken from 'Machines, Mills & uncountable costly necessities', R L Hills, Goose & Co (Norwich), 1967
- Monument No. 352439. PastScape. English Heritage.
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