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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Dunkeswell, Devon (1989)

© Photograph Copyright Brian Light

The above photograph was sent to me by fellow BWTAS committee member, Brian Light, while on holiday. Brian thought this was a rather unusual water tower, looking more like a grain silo, however the sinage clearly indicated that it was a water tower. This water tower is indeed unusual, as like many, it has two tanks, but unusually in this instance, they are located one above the other, in a 'double decker' arrangement. Normally a tower will contain two tanks at the same level, that usually work in tandem. This enables one to be drained down for cleaning, while still maintaining supply from the other, during less demanding periods. This 120,000 gallon tower, built in 1989 stands at O.S. Grid Ref. ST 13440 05850.

Two other towers in Britain were also known to share this oddity, of having 'double decker' tanks:— The 510,000 gallon Priesthill tower in Glasgow, built in 1950, it had a 450,000 gallon tank, 22 feet above ground level and a second 60,000 gallon tank supported on a 3 × 4 array of columns on top of the lower tank, giving it an elevation of 52 feet above ground. The tower was demolished in the late 1990s — it stood at O.S. Grid Ref. NS 52962 60313. The other tower, was Ormskirk's Victoria Tower, built in 1897, by the Rural District of Lathom and Burscough. The square plan tower built of sandstone supports a lower tank of 80,000 gallons, approximately 62 feet high with, a top water level of 242 feet above ordnance datum. This is surmounted by a smaller tank on a square sandstone tower of 17,000 gallons, approximately 99 feet high with a top water level of 283 feet above ordnance datum. The tower became redundant when the new tower at Scarth Hill was built. Due to the rapid deterioration of the structure, the tower was demolished in the early 1980s — it stood at O.S. Grid Ref. SD 42379 08612.

The practice of having multiple tanks stacked vertically, is much more common in other European countries — such as the Sternschanzen tower in Hamburg, Germany, featured previously in this blog.


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