Art and Design: Inspecting The Steam Giants of Brede


The Brede Steam Giants trip on Saturday 5 March gave Bede’s artists and photographers an opportunity to gather lots of exciting photographs for their forthcoming practical exams.

It was a real pleasure to visit this Victorian and Edwardian water pumping station in the village of Brede, near Hastings, for a whistle-stop tour and photo-shoot of a range of the huge pumps, engines, valves and engineering paraphernalia.


The largest machines are over 10.7 metres high (hence the term “Steam Giants”) and it was possible to climb high up steps and gantries to get some stunning images of the machines in action.

Our students were particularly enthusiastic about the challenge of finding interesting angles, and it was great to witness howls of wonder and delight as they clambered up mysterious sets of metal steps to achieve that special photograph or hearing their trepidation as they ventured down into the dark, dank basement for close-up shots of the fascinating structures.


The atmosphere of the trip could be best summed up by Gigi’s statement; “This is cool, everywhere you look there’s an exciting shot to take!”

It was also a great pleasure to be given an introductory tour by a retired Bede’s schoolteacher Mr Atkinson, who works as a volunteer guide and engineer in the centre.


Mr Atkinson’s lightning tour provided a good context for students to understand the workings of the pumping station and, with his enthusiasm for teaching undimmed, he held our students in rapt attention.

It was also a great pleasure to meet up with Mr Graham, Bede’s former Head of Art and Design, who is also a volunteer at the centre.

Mr Graham, who is also retired, is now devoting himself to numerous art projects and he has completely revamped the Brede centre’s graphic design and illustrative materials.


An illustration of Mr Graham happily inspecting one of the centre’s tunnels.

The visit to the Brede Steam Giants is now an annual event and many of the photographs will surely turn up in our A Level Art Exhibition at the end of June.

Watch out for more new on that soon!


Learn more about Sixth Form Art and Design at Bede's >

Learn more about the Bede's Art School >

Learn more about the Bede's Photography department >