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Tower Of Power

Tower Of Power

Old photo of the water tower located on tower hill in Ormskirk

The water tower as it stood originally with the large water storage tank on top

The Victorian Water tower that is so familiar to every generation in the town from 1853 onwards, dominates the Ormskirk skyline still, despite the removal of the original water tank some years ago. There was a viewing platform on the top from where you could see the Victoria Hotel in Southport, Parbold Hill, Rivington Pike, Harrock Hill, Hunter’s Hill, Ashurst Beacon, Knowsley Hall and Liverpool in the far distance. The access to the viewing platform in 1853 was via an iron tube running through the water in the tank.

Built to save the town from disease and deterioration, the tower had a massive impact on the health of everyone in the town from the first day it went into operation.

From October 1853 the water system in the town was operational and fed from a 226ft well which was sunk about 300 yards from the tower near to Bath Springs, where a public bath had been in use but had closed prior to the Tower being built. A powerful pump forced the water from the spring/well to the tower.

The water tower located on Tower Hill in Ormskirk

The water tower as it stands today, the tank having been removed after it went out of use in 1976

The Tower itself was sited to the North East of the town with open fields around it, there were no houses close by until Sgt Major Nunnerley built Inkerman Lodge almost directly opposite.  The original area around the Tower was used for grazing cattle and sheep viagra en pharmacie sur ordonnance. The road had been known as Tinker’s Hill for generations but when the Tower was built it became Tank Lane. In the 1920s, it was voted by the council planning committee to rename it Tower Hill.

The water supply from the well served the town’s needs adequately in the first  twenty years, but with the increase in population by 1876 the water table had sunk below the foot of the well on a number of occasions and supply was looking to be a problem.

Mr Mansergh, at the request of Central Government and on instruction from the council undertook a detailed study of the whole system in January 1876. His report, dated May 1876, confirms that the 226ft well used from the installation in 1853 was indeed becoming unreliable.  A second well 60 feet deep had been sunk and had been used to pump 230,000 gallons per day for domestic, trade and railway supply.  It was clear in his report that the 20 year old system drastically needed an upgrade.

His report recommended that a Davey Compound Differential Engine be bought with a pair of single-action lifting pumps  in a purpose built pumping station, the expense of installation and housing of this new system Mansergh assured the committee, would be less than replacing the beam engine currently in use, with the capability of pumping 200,000 gallons in 12 hours.

The Tower remained in service to the town for a further 100 years and in 1976 it was awarded Grade II listed status.  The abandoned tower lost the huge tank from the top and remains as a reminder of the ingenious engineering and foresight used in Victorian Times to improve the lives of ordinary people.

An article outlining the seventh time that planning permission was rejected for the tower on tower hill ormskirk

An article from the Ormskirk Advertiser, published when planning permission was rejected on the tower for the seventh time. Click for a larger view

Several attempts to develop the building into commercial and domestic use have been submitted to the local planning and each one has been rejected, the building is once again on the market.

Other towns with similar Victorian Water Towers, have formed support groups to press for the restoration of their towers to celebrate the ingenuity and sheer skill of the people who built them and got them to work so well.

If you have any personal memories of the tower, whether working there, playing there (carefully and never climbing the interior spiral staircase to the viewing platform), swimming in the tank, (thought that was more in Ruff Wood) or wish to form such a group, please get in touch.


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