Roman Water Lifting Machine

McCurdy & Co were commisioned by the Museum of London to design and build a replica Roman water lifting machine based upon archaeological finds made in 2001 by the museum’s team of archaeologists at 30 Gresham Street in the City of London.

The water lifting machine in the Rotunda at the Museum of London

After careful analysis of the excavated timbers and ironwork the McCurdy team worked with the museum’s engineers, Tony Taylor and Bob Spain, to recreate a machine that had been working in London in the 2nd century AD.

Boring the drive shaft to receive a bearing journal

The machine is currently on display at the Museum of London, London Wall until further notice. The machine can be seen working and members of the public are able to assist in driving the capstan. Times and days vary so call the museum for details. The museum may be contacted on 0207 001 9844.

Lifting bucket and link assembly prior to front panel being fitted
Detail of the drive/transfer wheel showing iron links and the lifting buckets
Capstan and drive shaft detail

Below are some shots taken during filming with Time Team at our workshops.

Time Team’s Phil Harding assists the McCurdy Crew
Team effort to erect a corner post
Dave jointing a hand rail

Below is an animation of the water lifting device in action. Animation courtesy of Ash Mills –