Collection AR818 - Engineering Drawings of Park Hill Reservoir and Water Tower

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Engineering Drawings of Park Hill Reservoir and Water Tower


  • c.1867 - 1959 (Creation)

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7 items

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Administrative history

Croydon was incorporated as a Borough by Royal Charter on 14th February 1883, earlier petitions for incorporation in 1691 and 1707 having been unsuccessful. The first election under the charter was held on June 1st 1883, and first meeting of the Borough Council took place on June 9th 1883. It consisted of 49 members representing 6 wards. Croydon was granted arms, bearing the motto Sanitate crenescamus (Let us increase in health), in 1886. In 1889, under the Local Government Act of 1888, it was the only town in Surrey to be granted the status of a County Borough, retaining control of, among others, its own highways, education and public health services. Under the 1963 London Government Act Croydon became a London Borough, absorbing the Urban District of Coulsdon and Purley. It lost control of its fire brigade, ambulance service, vehicle licensing, refuse and sewage disposal, and strategic planning. Elections were held on 7th May 1964, and the first meeting of the London Borough Council of Croydon took place on 20th May 1964. Its powers came into force on 1st April 1965.

Archival history

It is likely that these drawings were legitimately borrowed from the Borough Water Department by a former member of the CNHSS and never returned. As the Council no longer has a Water Department, they have been returned to Croydon Archive Service on deposit. Although deposited in 2001, the then Archivist does not seem to have accessioned the records formally, hence an accession number not being allocated until 2005.

The Parish of Croydon availed itself of powers afforded by the passing of the first Public Health Act of 31 August 1948 and formed the Croydon Local Board of Health in the following year. The Board laid its mains drainage and made arrangements for the treatment and disposal of sewage. It also sank a well at Sturts Yard on the west side of Surrey Street, erected a water pumping station, built a covered reservoir at Park Hill (and later a water tower beside it) and laid in a mains water supply throughout a large part of the town and parish. The oards engineer was one Thomas Cox. The 12 inch diameter iron main to conduct water from Surrey Street to the reservoir was routed via Mint Walk, and land now occupied by Barclay Road, and crossed the London to Brighton Railway cutting by means of an aquaduct. The pumping station and reservoir were inaugurated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 11 December 1851.

The Park Hill Reservoir, Croydons first, was a polygonal-section cylindrical brick structure with a brick vaulted roof. It was 75 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep. The 16 brickwork panels were convex (facing the interior) to withstand the pressure of the water. The intervening piers were continued upwards as ribs supporting the brick dome. The capacity was 950,000 gallons, with water standing to a maximum depth of 32 feet. Access for cleaning and maintenance was by way of a doorway in the southern side of the graased over brick dome and step irons fixed on the vertical south wall. The reservoir was abandonned for supply purposes in 1923 but used for emergency supplies for firefighting furing WWII. It was destroyed by Croydon Council in 1971. The floor and the walls remain in situ but the body of the reservoir is filled in by material from the demolished brick dome and other material.

To cater for demand from the higher parts of the Parish, then being developed for housing, the Board of Health erected the cylindrical brick Park Water Tower to be north of the reservoir, in 1867. This was designed by Baldwin Latham (1836-1917) who was the Boards surveyor and engineer from 1863 - 1871. The tower was built by John Thomas Chappell of Steyning in 1867, with a large wrought iron tank holding 40,000 gallons at the top, and another tank (94,000 gallons) in the basement. The top tank shell plates were a quarter inch thick and the bottom plates three eighths of an inch thick. The base reservoir had an internal diameter of 27 feet and accommodated water standing 27 feet deep. The tower is 125 feet high and 36 feet in diameter at the base. Until the 1950s a small building on the west side housed the pumps for lifting water from the adjoining reservoir to the tank. The towers turret was a flue for this adjoining steam pumping engine. During 1971 Croydon Council gutted the building, removing all internal fixtures and fittings, so the tower is now a roofless, empty shell. It is listed Grade II.

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1) Croydon Local Board of Health.
Contract no. 5 Sheet no.1
Plan of dome/Plan at AB on Section thro EF
Scale 4 feet to an inch

2) Croydon Local Board of Health
Contract No.5 Sheet No.2
Sections of service reservoir
[Scale bar damaged]

3) Croydon Local Board of Health
Contract No.5 Sheet No. 3/4 [Combined on one sheet]
Section of valve pit/Section of Pandrill shewing dormer for Man-hole/Elevation of Discharging Arch H and filling in Spandrill/Elevation [for dormer for Man-hole]/Section of Spandrill shewing waste and cleansing pipes
Scale 4 feet to an inch

4) Croydon Corporation Waterworks Park Hill Reservoir
Plan at Base/[Part Section]
Scale 4 feet to 1 inch

5) Water Tower Improvements 1889 [Details drawings of plans/sections/elevations shewing tank/internal staircase/roof/turret/ornamental work and windows (exterior) etc]

6) Park Hill Water Tower War Damage Repairs
Drawing No.1 (dated 11 August 1954)
Architect George Lowe FRIBA in association with A.F.Holt AMICE, Borough Engineer and Surveyor.
[Detail drawings showing repairs to damaged turret]

7) Proposed re-roofing to Park Hill Water Tower
[Plan and section dated 30 January 1959]

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