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Thursday, 26 September 2019

B.W.T.A.S. @ Chelmsford Waterworks

Essex Industrial Heritage Fair: Saturday, October 5th 2019

Chelmsford Corporation Water Works, now Sandford Mill

Chelmsford Corporation purchased the Sandford Mill site (a water powered corn mill) in 1923 for their new waterworks. Water was taken from both the River Chelmer and a borehole, then treated before being pumped to Galleywood reservoir, where it was available to the city's inhabitants. The capacity of the waterworks was expanded in the 1950s with the construction of a new dedicated filter house and various pumping houses and storage tanks. Two million gallons of water a day could be treated at Sandford Mill when it was at it's peak. But by the 1980s, the waterworks at Sandford Mill had become redundant, replaced by the new larger waterworks nearby, that was able to pump more water.

This is the venue for the Essex Industrial Heritage Fair on Saturday, October 5th 2019, and the British Water Tower Appreciation Society will be there!   BWTAS has again teamed up with the local Balkerne Tower Trust in order to have a stand at this event. Entry and parking are both Free!!! The programme for the event includes five talks and there will be around 20 societies with display stands. Directions to Sandford Mill may be found here. The event runs from 10:00am – 4:00 pm.

The BWTAS stand will have our new display boards and our new A3 information leaflets available… We will also have copies of “Water Towers of Britain”, by Society President, Dr. Barry Barton, for sale at £7·50.  Also, Brian Light from Balkerne Tower Trust will have copies of his recently released book on Jumbo — Colchester's iconic water tower, for sale. “It is an excellent publication – a cleverly balanced combination of the academic and the popular.” Dr. D M J Barton.

Pop along to say “Hi” and pick up a copy of our new leaflet and perhaps buy a book or two and solve those Christmas present problems… I'll be there to try to answer any water tower questions that you may have… and judging by the Basildon Fair in 2017 it'll be an informative and enjoyable day.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

‡ Extract from Chelmsford City Museum Sandford Mill: The History

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

New Book: Jumbo — The Water Tower

BWTAS Committee member, Brian Light, has completed his book on Colchester's massive, iconic water tower, that he started writing, back in 2001.

The book, published by the Balkerne Tower Trust, tells the history of the Jumbo water tower, it also relates the story of Jumbo the elephant, describes the water tower era and a brief history of water supply. It is profusely illustrated with old drawings, documents and photographs.

Author — Brian Light with his new book.

Book Launch:

"Jumbo – the Water Tower"
Opening by Sir Bob Russell
Red Lion Books, Colchester
11th September at 6:30 pm

(Details: here)

The launch will be followed by a short talk by the author on the origins of the book and why it is important for everyone concerned with Colchester’s local history and its most prominent landmark. All profits from the sale of the book will go towards a future restoration of Jumbo which preserves its architectural character, allows public access and provides ample historic interpretation of the famous tower.

After this event, the book will be available in Colchester, at Red Lion books, Waterstones and the Visitor Information Centre, price £9·99. Copies will also be available at the joint BWTAS/BTT stand at the Essex Industrial Heritage Fair, in Chelmsford on the 5th October.

Information regarding the Balkern Tower Trust may be found here:


Sunday, 1 September 2019

Return to Tiptree

Another chance for BWTAS members to visit...

The tower before conversion… © Peter Loosley

Members last had the opportunity to visit this tower in Tiptree, back in August 2013: Lots to see at Tiptree… when conversion of this unique tower, was in it's infancy. Now the conversion is complete and owner Jim Underwood has kindly offered us a return visit. The size of group is limited and it is only open to BWTAS members. The visit is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Sunday 8th September, 2019. If you would like to visit this tower and meet up with fellow water tower enthusiasts, places must be booked, by contacting

Following the visit, it is proposed that we adjourn to the Wilkin & Sons Ltd. Tea Room, just over a mile away, to catch up and chat water towers etc. There is also a splendid museum and visitor centre there…

Tiptree water tower is located on the B1023, Kelvedon Road, just to the north of Tiptree, at TL 88643 17147. For those with a Sat-Nav, the post code is: CO5 0LX. Driving directions may be obtained from Google here. Parking may be found on the industrial area by the tower, as you head out of Tiptree, take the road just past the tower on the same side.

Note: The visit is entirely at your own risk. The owner or BWTAS cannot be held responsible for any accidents.


Note to members:

You should have received an e-mail notification of this visit. If you have not, it's either in your Spam, or we do not hold a current e-mail address for you. If the latter, please e-mail us at regardless of whether you intend to come on this visit, so we can update our list and keep you informed.