All the Queen’s Men (overtime at Romney Weir)

Romney Weir.

Romney Weir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you do when you come back from Church on a wet April Sunday morning? If you live opposite Romney Weir in Eton, you can enjoy watching eight engineers monitoring how the largest archmides screw in Europe is coping with the extra flows of water caused by it raining all weekend.

Enough jokes have been made about this screw. It is screwing for the Queen, whose nearby castle is being powered by the electricity screwed out of the Thames. Now it appears that the Queen is being screwed by these engineers who are presumably on triple time.

Of course , the cost of the Archimedes screw and the engineers that attend it at times of stress , is born by the taxpayer and , I suspect, the local council tax payer in particular.

Which is why watching these eight engineers, clad in Health and Safety dayglo jackets and trousers, is so fascinating. I am determined to get my money worth.

Presumably an announcement will be broken in next week’s Windsor and Eton Gazette that the screw has been subjected to undue stress as a result of unprecedented flows and is f***ed.

The Romney eight will then have work for the rest of the summers to supplement the six month project just completed to install the hydro unit.


This story has a strange and frightening sequel – later that day (29th), I took Minivet my little electric slipper out for a spin in our cut. But I was too ambitious and the boat was swept into the river proper. I found myself being corkscrewed in ten knots of stream and careering towards the open sluice gate at Romney Lock.

Had I not hit the posts above the lock and lassoed my craft to it before making it to the far side of the Thames, I would undoubtedly have been sept to my almost certain death.

Thanks to David, the Romney Lock Keeper I am now safe and sound and so is Minivet. I got rather too close to those two archimedes screws for comfort and have learned a lesson do not take the Thames in flood, lightly.

It would appear that the workmen were out protecting the gearboxes of the screws , in front of the screws and under threat from the current that did me in. Amazingly no electricity has been , or is likely to be created from these huge things till someone decides to connect the generators to the castle.

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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to All the Queen’s Men (overtime at Romney Weir)

  1. Mike Post says:


    We visited the Romney Weir turbines on 19 February 2013. They still weren’t generating commercial electricity. In October 2012, the CEO of SEPEL, the developer, wrote an article in a water power and dam magazine in which he said: “The turbines at Windsor Castle are unique in several ways and we have been awarded a grant from the European Union Redevelopment Fund (sic) (ERDF) to study the developments and improvements we have made to the
    technology”, I have an FOI request in to find out about this grant.

  2. David says:

    Henry, I am the developer of the turbines running on the Thames and powering Windsor Castle and I can assure you that we paid for them, their installation and own them outright. The cost for the “Romney eight” was born by my company and not you, the tax payer or the Queen. I own and operate these turbines, you and England benefit from the energy we do not import as a result of these and others like myself who are improving not only our environment but also our country’s energy security.

    • henry tapper says:

      So why did you do this David. I am writing looking at the Romney Eight and I’m still not sure they’ve generated any electricity!

      But if they have- do tell! I’ll cheer all those fine chaps who appear outside my house in green jackets!

      Thanks for your post – I am in your debt – as we all are in windsor and eton!

      • Mike Post says:

        Dear Henry,

        David writes:”I own and operate these turbines, you and England benefit from the energy we do not import as a result of these and others like myself who are improving not only our environment but also our country’s energy security”.

        He has omitted to tell you that his company, together with the Environment Agency, were to be beneficiaries and so-called, delivery partners, in the local council’s bid for a European Regional Development Grant of £940,700 to develop weir power in the South East. David reported that the grant had been awarded in October 2012. In fact, the bid was rejected in October 2013. The first reason of several for the Dept for Communities and Local Government’s rejection of the bid was the inclusion of a high proportion of retrospective expenditure for which procurement and audit trail were not verified. Another reason was the lack of transparency of aid to SEPL and lack of clarity regarding their relationship with Landustrie – the screw manufacturer.

        David refers to “our country’s” energy security. He is American. When did he become British?

        When a party from Marlow (which is threatened by a SEPL development adjacent to our world famous Grade 1 suspension bridge and 30 feet from the windows of the Compleat Angler) visited Romney, David stated that the only reason he was developing low-head hydro was for the feed-in tariffs. So it is the electricity consumer who is paying multiples of the commercial cost.

        David calls Marlow people who object to his proposals to despoil our environment, “idiots and Nimbys.”

        He refuses to answer questions such as: “Where are the hydropower schemes everywhere where you have, as you claim in the press, “improved the environment for fish and humans.”? “Where are your projects in Northern Ireland that you claim in the press are occupying all your time such that you have done no development work at Marlow during the two years that you held exclusive development rights to Marlow Weir which expired in September 2013?”

        Perhaps it would amuse you if David used this forum to explain himself!

        Kind regards

        Idiot and Nimby

        Mike Post

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