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Wednesday 20 October 2010

Old Postcards

The international collectible trading site often has many postcards of water towers for sale. Here is a selection found recently of British water towers.

The Barbourne Water Tower was built as part of the water works in 1770. Water was taken from the Severn and pumped through the tower and along wooden pipes into a central city supply near the Trinity. It became redundant when a new waterworks was built in the 1800's. It was converted into dwellings for a time but was unfortunately demolished in the 1960's. Today the foundations are still visible at the rear of Gheluvelt Park.

Information from Worcester City Museum

Information from London Borough of Croydon
Addington Reservoir on the southern side of the Hills was built in 1888 and the Valve House was initially open to the public with refreshments being served from the ground floor and a residence above. Unfortunately an outbreak of Typhoid in 1937 was traced to the reservoir and the cafe was quickly closed and the area fenced off.

A video of the pumping engines on Youtube.

Croydon was a market town twelve miles South of London (now a London Borough of some 300,000 folk) that expanded rapidly in the 1880s as a London dormitory. The old town from where Croydon's water supply was drawn was so unsanitary that typhoid outbreaks were common when the water level dropped so in January 1885 Croydon Corporation started to build a new well outside the town at Addington on the back slope of the North Downs. Here a well 200 feet deep gathered water from an area of 11 square miles and the pumping station pumped the water to a reservoir in Addington Hills. Two beam engines were installed along with five Cornish boilers to provide steam at 100 psi. The pumps operated with any major fault until 1974 when the station was demolished and replaced by electric submersible pumps.

According to the contractors, the demolition of the iconic York University Water Tower was a lot more complicated than first envisaged.

An Edwardian-era photo of the Lendal Tower which is featured elsewhere on BWTAS

Littlestone-on-Sea water tower was built in 1890 by Henry T. Tubbs to supply his properties in Littlestone, including the Golf Club and his proposed housing development. Tubbs wanted to turn Littlestone into a major resort, and embarked on an ambitious building programme, including the Marine Parade and Grand Hotel. His plans for a pier were not realised, however, and it was eventually built at Eastbourne instead.

Unfortunately the water supply from the tower was unsuitable, because it contained too much sea water. In 1902 the Littlestone and District Water Company built a tower at Dungeness to supply all of New Romney, Littlestone, Greatstone and Lydd. The tower at Littlestone fell into disuse, but now serves as a residence.

Info from New Romney Tour

Saturday 9 October 2010

West Bar picnic

We are organising a social get-together for BWTAS members on Saturday October 9th at Thorpeness, on the Suffolk Coast: a picnic (or, if the weather is bad, lunch in the café or pub), followed by a guided tour of West Bar water tower by kind permission of John Smith. Thorpeness is well-endowed with towers: the famous ‘House-in-the-Clouds’, a nearby windmill which once pumped water to it, and the magnificent brick-built West Bar supported on an arch over the road. All are within a few minutes walk. Meet at 12:00 the café by the lake (postcode IP16 4NW, or click here for google map) - you can’t miss it, Thorpeness is a small village. There is a car park just South of here, on the East side of the road. Following the social we shall have a tour at 2pm. Note, this is John’s home and therefore the group size will need to be limited to 10 or so.