1968: Sewage Pumping Station in Bid for the Charts!

In 1968 music producer Mike Steyn was looking for a sound with a difference – something deep solid and powerful for his next musical master piece.

Famous for his work with Blaster Bates, and a man who took inspiration from industrial environments he headed to Shrewsbury, and found exactly what he was looking for at Coleham Pumping station.

The full story appeared in the Birmingham Post

Deep down sound for the charts?

Birmingham Post Shrewsbury Correspondent:

A new talent will soon be bringing the Shrewsbury “sound” to the pop world after 67 years of trying to get into the charts. The sound is said by its backers to be – deep, solid and powerful.” Others who have heard the performance describe the “moaning and groaning” above the ready backing which comes from deep down. But who would not groan after 67 years of pumping sewage? For the new recording star is the beam engine at the town’s pumping station at Longden Coleham. So distinctive is the sound as it takes away the sewage that Mike Steyn, head of Big Ben Records, has recorded it on an extended pacing record price 12s 6d.

Exclusive rights

Mr Steyn spent a day in the engine room and cellars with a tape recorder and now has the exclusive rights on the pump in exchange for royalties which will be administered by the corporation. – It must be the first sewage pump in the world to have a recording contract.” he said yesterday. The engine man, Mr. Tom Brown, who has listened to the pump’s sound for the last 26 years, said: “Some very queer noises come from the pumps moans and groans like someone in agony.” – Mr. Steyn calls it “More like the mating dinosaurs.” Mr. Clive Crane, the Deputy Town Clerk, commented with a chuckle: Anything that might help to keep down the rates is a good thing, but I doubt whether this record will reach the ‘top ten’.”

So what was the single or track he produced?

Here it is…



And so what did it sound like?

Side 1 is the Engine Room

Side 2 is In the Cellar





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Sadly it didn’t make it into the charts

Mr Steyn died in 1999 as recorded in this Obituary.   Here’s list of his back catalog BIG BEN RECORDS

As for how much the Shrewsbury town corporation made in royalties…that remains a mystery!

If you want to visit the pumping station and see it in action they have regular open days. Check out their website Coleham Pumping Station

brum daily post
Birmingham Daily Post – Saturday 24 August 1968 With thanks to Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.


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