You may wonder why I am featuring this rather small, 122,000-gallon water tower. Last month it was reported on this site that Roy Rowe had died, although we are not aware of any direct involvement in any water towers, Mr Rowe pioneered the use of pre-stressed concrete as a building material. Meare was Britain's first pre-stressed concrete water tower, designed by Sandford Fawcett and Partners. It was built for Wells Rural District Council by the Vibrated Concrete Construction Company, in 1953. The tank, 37’ 5” in diameter and 23’ 9” in depth, is elevated by 80’ on eight reinforced concrete columns and a central service shaft. The tower is pre-stressed vertically and horizontally in the tank. The tank floor has eight curved sections radiating from its centre and is always in compression, enabling the floor to be only 6" thick. The roof and walls of the tank being pre-stressed too are also of 6" thick concrete. The tower can be found at O.S. Grid Ref. ST 46056 41175.
Further information on the construction of this tower and photographs of it being built may be found in issue 21 of Concrete Quarterly - "A village water tower of unusual construction". This is free to download in PDF format.