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Friday, 4 July 2014

Iconic Bracebridge Heath water tower to be demolished

from Lincolnshire Echo:

Landmark water tower to make way for £40 million Bracebridge Heath development

LANDMARK: The water tower at St John's in Bracebridge Heath.

A landmark water tower will be removed from a village near Lincoln as work on the first phase of a £40 million housing development nears completion.

The iconic 90-year-old tower is in the grounds of the derelict St John's Hospital site at Bracebridge Heath.

And it will disappear later this month as developers transform the former Victorian mental asylum into St John's Village.

Phase one of the 183 luxury homes and apartments, including 77 new-build family homes, in the spacious grounds of the 18-acre site will be completed in August.

And Bracebridge Heath Parish Council chairman John Kilcoyne said the demise of the tower was inevitable.

And it is set to be demolished over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13.

"The parish council accepted that the water tower would not survive the development of the hospital buildings into apartments and houses," Mr Kilcoyne said.

"While we would have liked to keep the tower as a landmark, we realised it was not suitable for a residential development.

"It is also not original to the hospital design, being built in the 1920s, and is not in a good condition.

"The concrete would not last indefinitely, and it was felt better to take it down at this point.

"North Kesteven District Council accepted this when planning permission was granted."

Read the rest of the story

What the parish council and the developers haven't said is this tower is a fine example of early reinforced concrete water tower construction, demonstrating with its lightweight form the huge potential of this then new material and the confidence that civil engineers were beginning to have in it. Barton considers the Bracebridge tower "combines a remarkable slenderness with elegance of form..." p73 The Water Towers of Britain

When innovative materials and techniques become available, no civil engineer wants to 'push the envelope' too far but with Bracebridge, Barton asserts that water towers of the 1920's started to have a  "certain resonance with the spirit of the age and gave rise to a number of remarkably bold reinforced concrete structures... which it is doubtful would have been built at a later date".

Built circa 1924, the tower is 125 feet tall with footings remarkably only five feet deep.

The 22ft 8in diameter tank holds 30,000 gallons and is supported on six slightly splayed legs spreading to a diameter of only 23 feet at the base.

According to English Heritage (who reference Barton) the tower was built by Charles Horobin of the Indented Bar and Concrete Engineering Company but it did not meet the criteria for listed status as the attendant laundry had been previously demolished.

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