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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Merredin Railway, Western Australia (1893)

Merredin came into existence as a result of the goldrush. In 1888, the area to the east of Merredin was officially proclaimed a goldfield and over the next decade prospectors poured through the area and in 1893 the railway reached the town.
The water tower was built in 1893 to store rainwater from the water catchment scheme on Merredin Peak for the locomotives up to 1968. A rock wall was built around the contours of Merredin Peak with a 40 acre catchment area. It led to a 100 m channel that in turn led into a dam that had a storage capacity of 7,474,000 gallons and cost £5366. The scheme collected all the water that landed on the Peak and directed it into the dam, which provided water for both the town and the railway. The tower is 50 feet high and has a square cast iron tank supported by 45 foot timber tower. The water tower was restored in 1997 by the Merredin Historical Society with the aid of a $37,000 grant from the Lotteries Commission.
The need for the water from Merredin Peak disappeared in 1903 when C. Y. O'Connor's 350 mile pipeline was completed to supply water from in the Helena River east of Perth. The Merredin Peak dam continued to supply water to the railway until 1968 and today it is still used as the water supply for the fountain outside the Merredin Railway Museum. Located on the North side of the Great Eastern Highway, National Route 94 at 31º 29’ 0” South, 118º 16’ 45” East, capacity 40,000 gallons.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

World Day for Water

Today, March 22nd 2009 is World Day for Water

Wikipedia states:

1993 the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 as World Day for Water (also known asWorld Water Day)[1].

This day was first formally proposed in
Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since.

The UN PARTY its member nations to devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Day for Water.

With the
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs coordinating, World Day for Water 2005 also marked the start of the second 'UN International Decade for Action for Water', also referred to as the Water for Life Decade 2005-2015.[2]

In 2006, World Day for Water was coordinated by
UNESCO with the theme: 'Water and Culture'.

In 2007, the theme was
'Coping with Water Scarcity', coordinated by FAO.

In addition to the UN member states, a number of
NGOs promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era. Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water.

Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water.

March 21, 2008, Guardian Weekly will publish a special feature on World Day for Water

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Wanted: Poster Designer

Here's a sketch a member made for the poster for the tower exhibition at the Landguard Fort in July. It's a work in progress, something we hope we can use as a brief.
Poster design is an art and a poster for an art show should be interesting and an artwork in its own right. As Saul Bass is no longer with us, if you're a graphic designer who'd like to design one for the BWTAS exhibition, please get in touch at

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Diss-appearing act

The EDP and the Diss Express report the water tower at Diss, Norfolk, is another one being converted into flats.
This tower is interesting to compare to a similar proposal at Dereham. The lack of detailing in this 1912 tower shows how by the Edwardian era, building costs had escalated and made construction to the Victorian standards of finish no longer feasible.

Location OSGB36: TM 114 804

Friday, 13 March 2009

Kimberly Clark tower at Northfleet

Industrial archaeologist Karl Hulka tells BWTAS he had the pleasure of going up this tower just before Christmas under the guise of photographing the adjacent site for one his professional historic building recording jobs.

It is the Kimberly Clark Water Tower in Northfleet, Kent.

The work he is doing on the cement factory next door suggests a construction date of the early to mid 1950s but one with a totally glazed case around the shaft in the UK hasn't come to our attention before. The enclosed space was originally used as offices and store rooms and a later electric lift has been inserted to give access to all but the top floor (7th) and tank. We look forward to learning more.

Christian Faur

Here is a 'painting' by the artist Christian Faur. Although he works in several media, he has gained some notoriety because of his crayon paintings. Not paintings in crayons but made of crayons, each crayon held in a frame to become a pixel of colour. Most importantly to us, he decided to represent a water tower this way in a series titled 'house of rain'.

The Telegraph recently ran a feature on his work.

Trafford water tower to be demolished

Demolition contractor MJ Finnigan Ltd. have announced on their website a contract with the NHS to demolish the water tower at Trafford General Hospital. Other buildings to be demolished include a lodge at the hospital entrance, an outbuilding and two administration blocks. This company are one of the largest demolition contractors in the UK and sadly, for BWTAS, have previous form in the demolition of water towers.

Trafford General was once known as Park Hospital and has figured significantly in Manchester's history. It was here in 1948 that Nye Bevan symbolically accepted the keys to open the National Health Service. On 22 May 1959, the writer and singer Morrissey was born at the hospital.


1926: Work began to build the hospital. It was initiated by the Barton-upon-Irwell Union, a body created in 1849 in line with the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834’s requirement for parishes to create unions that would make provision for their poor.

1928: The hospital opened to patients on 17 December 1928 being officially opened by the first Princess Royal (HRH Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles) on 1 June 1929. When the Local Government Act of 1929 got rid of the poor law unions, ownership of the hospital passed to Lancashire County Council.

1939: the hospital was taken over by the War Department for use by the Armed Forces – first, by British troops and then by the 10th US Station Hospital. It treated services personnel from many nations. Glenn Miller and his US Army Air Force Band entertained troops on the lawns. Boxer Joe Louis was another visitor during that time. The Americans left in July 1945 and it was de-requisitioned in September 1945.

5 July 1948: the then Health Minister Anuerin 'Nye' Bevan arrived to inaugurate the NHS by symbolically receiving the keys from Lancashire County County. Nurses formed a 'guard of honour' outside the hospital to meet him. The National Health Service was born and, from that day forward, the healthcare of the nation changed forever.

Sylvia Diggory (nee Beckingham) became the first NHS patient – she was 13. Before she died, Sylvia said: "Mr Bevan asked me if I understood the significance of the occasion and told me that it was a milestone in history - the most civilised step any country had ever taken, and a day I would remember for the rest of my life - and of course, he was right."

The hospital also witnessed the first baby born under the NHS, 6lb 11oz Sandra Pook. Now called Sandra Howarth, she lives in nearby Eccles and shares her birthday with the NHS.

1988: re-named Trafford General Hospital in 1988 and is now controlled by Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust, formed in 1994 following a reorganisation of the NHS.

2008: Today, the hospital has 530 beds, employs 2,100 staff, treats 24,000 in-patients in a year and handles 175,000 outpatient appointments.

Became the first hospital in the UK to introduce a highly innovative system to track blood from the donor to the recipient, improving patient safety for which it received a national Health Award.


MJ Finnigan Limited. 2nd Floor, Station House, Stamford New Road, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 1EP. T: +44 (0)161 924 2253; M: +44 (0)7870 865959; E:

More images available at

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Welney, Norfolk (1936)

Norfolk's most Westerly public supply water tower has been sold for £11,750. What is to happen to this tower is unknown, but we know its history: Messrs. G. F. W. Bedford sold the 32’ x 32’ plot of land to Anglian Water Services Ltd. on the 16th November 1935 for the construction of the water tower, for the Isleham water supply. The reinforced concrete tower came into use in 1936. An unusual feature is the access to tank is via a ladder and through a triangular hole in the tank, through to the roof. The tower has not been used for a considerable time and was sold by Anglian Water in June 2006. The new owner was unable to develop the tower commercially for bird watching, so put the tower up for sale in early 2007 with a guide price of £50,000. In 2008 the tower featured on the front cover of “The Welney Parish Action Plan” delivered to every household in the Parish - a strange choice, as the Parish Council had previously said they thought it was an eye-sore that ought to be demolished! On the 25th February 2009, the tower sold for £11,750 beating the guide price of £3,000-£5,000 at Cheffins auction. Located to the West of Main Street at O.S. Grid Ref TL 52576 93890, Capacity unknown.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Alfie Sheppard: water tower artist

Alfie Sheppard is a student in his 3rd year at Norwich University College of the Arts.

He describes his interests as industrial structures.

His recent work is of water towers made from paper.

BWTAS very much hopes he can participate in the future Landguard Fort exhibition.

You can read all about Alfie and his other work on his website

Friday, 6 March 2009

Severalls Water Tower Plans

Thanks to Derelict Places and 'Lightbouy' for
digging out these plans of Severalls water tower for his own website.