History of the Centre

The Sherborne Steam & Waterwheel Centre houses an extensive collection of Victorian engineering. Central to the display is the massive, 26 foot diameter waterwheel built in 1869, which features the system of ventilated buckets designed by William Fairbairn, but so seriously corroded that it is had to be rebuilt, it is now restored to full working order for the summer programme of open days. Visitors can see the wheel driving a twin cylinder pumpset built in 1883 by Sparrow's of Martock for a local tannery. We also have a Hindley steam engine like that originally installed to supplement the water supply provided by the waterwheel housed in a new bujilding.

These main exhibits are supported by a wide ranging display of artifacts mainly concerned with water pumping. Included are several small ENGINE/PUMPSETS.

Also on display are the very substantial remains of the Nether Cerne Manor Waterwheel. This wheel was built for Nether Cerne Manor by Maggs of Bourton in 1819 and is certainly one of the oldest all iron waterwheels that remain in England.

There is also an excellent picnic area.

The site is owned by Wessex Water and is located along Oborne Road, Sherborne DT9 3RX

Nether Cerne Manor Waterwheel Nether Cerne Manor Waterwheel

Supporting this display of machinery is a very comprehensive display of technical and historical documentation. A particular exhibit in this section is a full set of copies of the famous 1852 MAP of SHERBORNE. The original is 13 feet long and 7 feet high, drawn to a scale of 10 feet to 1 mile. The original is the property of SHERBORNE TOWN COUNCIL. The survey and mapmaking was carried out by ROBERT DYMOND of EXETER under specific requirements laid down by the inspectors working under the requirements of the PUBLIC HEALTH ACT of 1848. The very detailed map shows every bucket privy in the town, all 14 breweries, all 11 slaughterhouses and all 11 laundries. Visitors may sit in comfort to study the map sections at their leisure.

Also included in the display are copies of many of the original specifications both for machinery and for buildings.

Click here or the banner below to discover more about the Waterwheel's colourful history.

Lower & Upper Leat Lower & Upper Leat
Upper Leat Upper Leat