Hunt's Sluice

East Bank of the Ouse

Sam's cut was part of the drainage scheme designed to drain this area in the 1630. The point where it enters the Ouse is known as Hunt's Sluice. The land drained naturally through Sam's cut up until 1884, by which time the fen had sunk so much it became necessary to install a pumping engine.


An enquiry was held in the Oak Tree Inn, Feltwell, as to a petition of the proprietors of the lands of Feltwell and Methwold that a drainage district might be found for these parishes.

At this meeting it was discussed that there was a need for a drainage engine to be installed at Hunt's Sluice.

1884 Opening of New Pumping Station

On the 13th February 1884, the new pumping station at Hunt's Sluice was formally opened by the Feltwell & Methwold Separate Drainage Commissioners and several other gentlemen interested in the work.

The engine was started by chairman of the board J. Boggers. Which went to work at once. It was so effective that the water in the drain was reduced to 6 feet within 40 minutes. It was evident that the drain, in it's current condition could not supply water fast enough for the pump.

The works consisted of a massive concrete dam of special construction built across Sam's Cut at a short distance above Hunt's Sluice. The dam had a large sluice gate with lifting gear, for the purpose of letting off the water in the drain should it rise above the level of the Ouse.

On the upside of the dam was large centrifugal pump on the vertical spindle system, supported by strong wing walls, drawing from the drain and discharging through a culvert in the dam. The pump was driven by a compound semi-portable engine developing about 50-horse power.

The engine was remarkable for its compactness, with the condenser being fixed at the side of the engine. An arrangement designed by Mr M. B. Ffolkes. The purpose of which was to keep the engine house as small as possible, owing to the great depth of its foundations, which were 20 feet down from the top of the bank.

The engine house was situated on the top of the bank at one end of the dam. It was a neat substantial brick building, slightly relieved by arches, strong courses and ornamental cornice.

The ordinary work of the machinery was to raise and discharge into the Ouse about 92 tons of water per minute. However in an emergency was powerful enough to delivery much more than that quantity.

The works were designed by Messrs Edward Easton & Co, civil engineers of 11 Delabay Street, London, and were carried out by Mr A. Mackie, their assistant engineer. Messrs D Porter and Son of Southery were the contractors for the whole of the work. Mr Dodman of Lynn was the sub-contractor for the iron work. Messrs Robey and Co. supplied the engine and Messrs Easton and Anderson supplied the pump.


During the years that followed the Fen shrunk so much the plant was unable to drain the fens properly, because the water was not able to get to the pump quickly enough. In 1913 a second pumping station had to be erected at the other end of Sam's cut to raise the level of water in the cut to it's old level.