Museum Director

  • Job Type: Full Time
    Contract Type: Permanent
    Salary: Circa £40,000 based on experience
    Closing Date: 7th October 2017

London Museum of Water & Steam is an independent museum governed by the Kew Bridge Engines Trust.  Situated on the site of the 1838 Kew Bridge Pumping Station, the Museum tells the story of London’s water supply and features a unique collection of working stationary water pumping steam engines, the earliest dating from 1820.

Reporting to the Chairman, the Museum Director is responsible for further developing the potential of the Museum and providing high quality management and supervision of the commercial business, collection care, education and site operation.

This is a pivotal role. We are looking for a proven leader who will drive us forward; build our capability to deliver our vision and strategy, and develop exceptional relationships for the Museum locally, nationally and internationally. Commercial and marketing experience and financial acumen are equally important.

Core functions are carried out by a small paid staff but the operation of the collection has always relied on large-scale volunteer support. You will have strong personal credibility and inspire confidence and respect across the organisation to ensure the continuing success of this key stakeholder engagement.

First interviews will take place on Friday 13th October. Please email for further information.

To apply for this exciting role with us please forward your covering letter and CV to

Introduction from Oliver Pearcey, Chairman of the Kew Bridge Engines Trust

Thank you for your interest in the post of Director at the London Museum of Water & Steam.

The Kew Bridge Engines Trust & Water Supply Museum Ltd is a charity formed in 1973 whose purpose is to restore and steam as a public amenity the five historic engines at the Kew Bridge Pumping Station, to add other steam pumping engines and to establish a Museum of Londons Water Supply. The Museum operated as Kew Bridge Steam Museum for 40 years.

While the Trust has substantially achieved its original purpose, it was faced with falling audiences and like many similar sized museums it needed to reposition itself in an increasingly crowded market by improving and enhancing its offer to visitors and other users of the Museum. In order to achieve this, the Trust secured funding of approximately £2.4million, including a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, for Project Aquarius, a major development designed to secure the long-term sustainable future of the Museum.

Project Aquarius commenced in April 2013 and included the installation of new interpretation, interactive water exhibits, a refurbished admissions, shop and café area as well as further improvements to the Grade I & II listed buildings. As a key part of the project was to raise the profile of the site the decision was made to change the name and branding. On 22nd March 2014 year the site was re-opened to the public as the London Museum of Water & Steam.

Since re-opening the museum has doubled the number of visitors and is on track to reach 27,000 this year. There has also been a great increase in the diversity of the museum audiences as we welcome more BAME and family audiences. There has also been a substantially increase in turnover across all income streams including education, venue hire and evening events. Education visits have increased by 100%.

The Director will be pivotal to the Museums future success. He or she will oversee the further development and implementation of the five year business and marketing plan, ensuring the Trust achieves its objectives and long-term sustainability. They will have particular responsibility in the areas of strategic management and development, fundraising, operations, communications and marketing, commercial and financial activities and HR.

We seek to appoint a leader who shares our vision, brings the skills and expertise required to succeed in the job, and will in partnership with our dedicated trustees, staff and volunteers play a crucial role in the next stage of our development; improving the visitor experience at the Museum, enhancing its image, national reputation and influence and making it an integral part of the local community. 


The Museum

The London Museum of Water & Steam is one of the oldest waterworks in the world which still contains its original steam pumping engines. Housed in listed Grade I and II buildings, four of the five remaining original engines have been restored to working order. The Museum also contains a unique collection of other water pumping machinery and artefacts, archives and interpretative displays about the engines and the story of Londons water supply.

From the late 18th century London led the world in the application of new technology to the supply of potable water to urban areas, greatly contributing to the decline of waterborne diseases and making the development of the modern city possible. The Kew Bridge Pumping Station is the most significant surviving site of this world changing technological development.

In addition to being an extremely important industrial monument, the Museum plays a number of other roles:

  • It is an educational resource at many levels from primary school children to museum professionals.

  • It is a recognised centre of expertise on the operation of large historic machinery and its sustainable public presentation.

  • It accommodates artists and craftsmen and a specialised engineering company on site.

  • It is a major venue, hosting everything from art exhibitions and dramatic performances to wedding breakfasts and science shows.

  • It is a developing partner and resource for the local community

  • As an independent Museum it always has been, and remains, a successful small business with an annual turnover of around  £360K

About Us

The key objectives of the Kew Bridge Engines Trust - to restore and steam as a public amenity the five historic engines at the Kew Bridge Pumping Station, to add other steam pumping engines and to establish a Museum of Londons Water Supply - have now substantially been achieved.

The Museum is open to the general public 362 days a year. The steam engines are in operation every weekend, bank holidays and for selected evening events and venue hires. In addition to this the Museum also delivers eight weekend special events per year aimed at both enthusiasts and families. Total visitor numbers are on track to reach 27,000 in 2017 with planned growth to 30,000 by 2020.  Approximately 3,000 are children under 16.

Included in the total visitor numbers are 1,600 – 2,000 schoolchildren who participate in the formal education programmes offered by the Museum. The newly launched education programme now covers Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 as well as family learning and is managed by a full time Learning & Audience Development Officer assisted by volunteers.  

The corporate, wedding reception, childrens birthday and private party market is a key revenue driver for the Museum and it currently hosts 35 events annually. Childrens parties have increased dramatically since the Museum re-launched in March 2014 and as part of the Business Plan we will be looking to develop this revenue stream further.    

Following funding as part of Project Aquarius, the Museum is now developing a strong community outreach programme. Working in cooperation with the local volunteer bureau, schools and colleges (for work placements), the Museum offers volunteers the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of activities. Areas of involvement including: repair and conservation of machinery, driving and operating engines, repairing and maintaining the buildings, garden and site as well as archive management and visitor service skills. 


The Team

The Director will head up a team which consists of an Operations Manager, Commercial Manager, Learning & Audience Development Officer as well as a 100 strong volunteer team. Also in the team is a part time museum technician who reports to the Operations manager and a part time finance assistant.

Principal Responsibilities

The Director is responsible for managing and marketing commercial operations; developing and managing budgets and funding; delivering Museum activities; and supporting the Board.  

All responsibilities will be discharged as appropriate in consultation and co-operation with the Board, its Committees, and the Volunteer Groups.

Specifically the Director will:

  • Draw up and deliver a marketing plan to sell the Museums visitor attractions and venue provision.

  • Manage the staff and volunteers to ensure the safe, effective and efficient operation of the   Museum, the best possible visitor experience and the delivery of consistently excellent customer service to visitors and venue users.

  • With the support of the Operations Manager, take overall responsibility for day to day delivery of health and safety on site for staff, volunteers, visitors and venue users.

  • Ensure that the Trust, as a registered charity, property manager and potential owner, and employer, meets all its statutory and regulatory obligations.

  • Set and achieve budget objectives and targets based on the agreed Business Plan to secure at least planned growth in visitor numbers and venue hire activity and associated revenues, while ensuring that costs are managed within agreed budgets.

  • Assist in the implementation of the Fundraising Strategy, particularly through the development of applications for funding, the membership offer and sponsorship and corporate giving

  • Prepare and deliver the annual budget including pricing strategy for admission, forecast numbers, venue hire, rents, retail sales, and membership

  • With the support of the Operations Manager, prepare and deliver annual budgets for routine maintenance and repair of the Museum site, buildings, machinery and exhibits

  • Ensure delivery of all aspects of the Project Aquarius Activity Plan especially those relating to education, volunteer development and community outreach

  • Liaise as appropriate with key partners, including the Association of Cultural Enterprise, Hounslow Council, Thames Water, and the Association of Independent Museums, and represent the Museum in meetings, seminars, workshops etc.

  • Support the Museums role as a recognised national leader in the maintenance and operation of large scale historic machinery

  • Ensure through regular and timely reporting that the Chairman and Trustees are kept appropriately informed of the Museums activities, that their advice and approval is sought where appropriate or necessary, and that where appropriate their particular expertise and skills are called in to play            

The above list of duties is indicative only and not exhaustive. The Museum Director is expected to perform all such duties as are reasonably commensurate with the role.

Director Specification

The ideal candidate will be a strong and committed leader who wants to market and operate a first class visitor attraction. They will have proven management skills and experience, entrepreneurial flair and a clear understanding of providing excellent service in a visitor attraction


  • A record of success as a leader who has managed people, budgets and marketing in a museum, visitor attraction or other organisation known for quality and excellence

  • Experience in successfully leading organisational development and change management

  • Experience in successfully driving sales and profitability in a service business including through the development and implementation of effective marketing and promotional programmes

  • Experience in developing and implementing successful fundraising strategies

  • Experience in delivering secondary spends at a visitor attraction, heritage site or museum

  • Experience in engaging at a senior level with partners and stakeholders, particularly within the heritage, education or tourism sectors

Aptitude and Skills

  • Passionate about and committed to the aims of the Kew Bridge Engines Trust and the long term sustainability of the museum

  • Proven ability to think and act strategically, and develop, implement and monitor dynamic strategic priorities and plans

  • Drive, strength and credibility to represent the charity with tact and authority

  • Proven leadership experience at a senior management level

  • Excellent people management skills with the ability to  bring out the very best in staff and volunteers, ensuring that they realise their full potential

  • Excellent communication, stakeholder engagement and relationship management skill

  • A dynamic and energetic approach to achieving objectives

A specific knowledge of industrial museums or historic industrial sites, and experience in the management of volunteers, would be advantageous.


To apply for this position, please submit a CV and covering letter through to

Please ensure that your application fully addresses the appointment criteria in the person specification.

If you have any queries on any aspect of the appointment process, need additional information or wish to have an informal discussion, please contact Luke Buckingham, Commercial Manager on 0208 568 4757.