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Tuesday 29 July 2008

Croydon Water Tower Blog

Croydon's water tower has its own twitter page!

It's very funny. This is another example of the symbolic power of a water tower in a community. (That comment has been noticed by Croydon's local paper).

Explanatory story here.

Link to the tower's official history here. Piemaster's comment below points out that the official history is completely wrong. He thinks they've got the information for the reservoir, not the tower. Yep, just goes to show. You've got to check everything, even the official sources.

When it was built it had a viewing platform at the top. It appears that now the tank and internals have been removed. Pity, although that means you could probably do a load of neat things with it now.

The twitter blog tells us the tower is very lonely. Well, maybe it will have some more friends soon.

Image from flickr


Pie Master said...

I have this tower @ TQ 33052 65002, to the south is a coverd reservoir built in 1851.

I found this at the Croydon Council's web site:

"The reservoir was under the hill, it had a circular dome structure with cemented brickwork and a 75 foot diameter. When full it held 950000 gallons of water. The walls of the reservoir rose vertically for 30 feet and there were 16 arches, the wall piers continued as ribs in the dome roof some 12 foot above the maximum water level which was 32 feet deep.

The water was pumped from Surrey Street through a steel aquaduct carrying a 12 inch main into the base of the reservoir. The head of water required to supply the town came from the gravitational pull of being 293 feet above sea level.

On the 11th December 1851 the Archbishop of Canterbury inaugurated the new works system and so gave Croydon a pure water supply.

The rapid increase in houses in the vicinity caused difficulties over the water supply in the neighbourhood. In spite of the 125 feet high Water Tower being constructed (which was designed by the engineering firm Baldwin and Latham) provisions for carrying water were still inadequate. A new reservoir was built on higher land at Addington Hills and the central site in Croydon was abandoned in 1923. The reservoir was used temporarily in the 1939-1945 war as an Emergency Water Supply for fire fighting purposes."

Barry Barton tells us that before WWI, the public could climb to the top of this tower on payment of one penny.

I believe the new reservoir at Addington Hills is the one Barry Barton refers to as "Heathfield" - there is a covered reservoir with a building on top @ TQ 35044 64183 by Ballards Plantation.

There is another water tower in Croydon "Foxearth Wood" @ TQ 35399 62964 in rather confusingly, Littleheath Woods, by Foxearth Road.

Pie Master said...

Further research of this tower has provided a more plausible capacity of 40,000 gallons.

J.O.C. Ritchie in his paper on Water Towers, presented to the Institution of Structural Engineers, on 24th January, 1957 writes:

"Park Hill Water Tower was built in 1867 for the Local Board of Health to the design of the late Mr. Baldwin Latham, C.E., the engineer for the public works of Croydon, and although no longer in service, it has been retained by virtue of its architectural merit. This 30 feet diameter tower is a 100 feet high terracotta brick building in Norman style containing a high level cylindrical wrought iron tank of 40,000 gallons capacity which is supported on cast iron girders with intervening timber joists as cushioning. The ends of the girders are carried on the cylindrical
walls of the tower which vary in thickness from 38 to 14 inches, and they are supported intermediately by three central columns consisting of cast iron flanged pipes, which also performed the function of the inlet, outlet and overflow pipes serving the tank.

A further feature of interest is the incorporation of a low level storage tank of 94,000 gallons capacity within the basement of the tower."

Nat Bocking said...

Interesting. Good detective work Pie Master. I wonder if the underground tank still exists or perhaps it has been turned into a secret council bunker? Perhaps the Urbex community knows.