If anyone has done sterling work at providing the nation with water, it is Robert Sterling. Born in 1790, the Scottish reverend was also an engineer and invented the world's first practical hot air engine in 1816. It was less complicated than a steam engine, which meant it could be used in the home for supplying water. The engines varied in size and were capable of powering anything from heating a cup of tea to propelling a boat.
To learn more about Stirling's work, pay a visit to Kew Bridge Steam Museum, where they will be holding a one-day exhibition on the 28th of April about the air engine. Admission is £10 for adults, £9 concessions, and £4 for children.
As they are only run once a month, it is also the opportunity to see some of their steam engines at work. Demonstrations will include the Boulton & Watt, Maudslay, Bull, and the 90inch engine, which is the largest engine in the world.