] google-site-verification: googlebff6a43135515ad3.html

Walthamstow Reservoirs

Walthamstow Reservoirs

P1020141

Walthamstow Reservoirs are a complex of ten water bodies, most of which were constructed between about 1853 and 1904 by the East London Waterworks Company. Lockwood Reservoir was constructed several decades later whilst one of the original ten, Racecourse Reservoir, was converted into the Coppermill Treatment Works.

(Newham Story.com)

P1020117

The reservoirs have a combined water-area (when full) of around 316 acres (around 125 hectares) with a total capacity of 1,200,000,000 gallons. The Walthamstow Reservoirs sites extend across 200 hectares.

All the Walthamstow reservoirs form part of a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI),which has also been designated as a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive and a Ramsar Site (particularly for the presence of shoveler, gadwall and bittern).

This SSSI supports a wide variety of fish, birds and waterfowl, including migratory species. In particular they provide a habitat for a colony of herons, which have bred at the reservoirs since 1928.

The source of the water is both from the River Thames and the River Lea. Water is also pumped into deep wells and retrieved from the chalk layers beneath the valley floor.

Today, the reservoirs store water used in the Coppermills Treatment Works, but were previously a source of supply to the Lea Bridge waterworks. The Meter House (now lost)adjoining the outlet works had a "Venturi" meter capable of measuring 60 million gallons a day.

Water to the low level reservoirs (No.'s 3, 2 &1) comes from the treatment works and is used to back-wash the sand filters. Reduced water clarity (turbidity) is causing silting and No. 3 Reservoir in particular is becoming shallow at one end.

Chingford Reservoirs

West Warwick Reservoir  (c.1900) is used as a balancing reservoir. It extends to some 34 acres and is a 'high' reservoir, retained by a concrete and grass structure. The water clarity of this reservoir is clear. The "Warwick" reservoirs are named after the Countess of Warwick, from whom the greater part of the land was purchased, and these have a total "shore" line of between 12 and 13 miles.

East Warwick Reservoir (c.1900) extends to some 43 acres. It is a 'high' reservoir with a depth (level) of 19 feet retained by a concrete and grass structure.  The height of the clay core embedded within the earth embankments of the East and West Reservoirs was raised between 1957 and 1958.

Lockwood Reservoir (c.1897 or 1903- references differ) extends to some 74 acres. It is a 'high' reservoir with a depth (level) of 19 feet, retained by a concrete and grass bank structure.  Lockwood Reservoir is named after one of the Directors of the East London Waterworks Company. A number of reputedly significant archaeological artefacts were found during construction (These references remain to be sourced by the authors of this web site). The reservoir is formed by a continuous earth embankment, with a central puddle clay core keyed into the underlying London Clay formation. The reservoir was kept at a lower level during the the Second Worl War in order to limit potential catastrophic flooding, but the embankments nevertheless suffered bomb damage in two locations. The height of the clay core embedded within the earth embankments was raised between 1957 and 1958.

High Maynard Reservoir (c.1870 or 1895 - references differ) extends to some 38 acres. It is a 'high' reservoir with a depth (level) of 19 feet, retained by a concrete bank structure.

Low Maynard Reservoir (c.1895) extends to some 25 acres. It is a 'high' reservoir with a depth (level) of 19 feet, surrounded by a grass bank.

No.1 Reservoir (c.1860) extends to some 19 acres. It is a 'low' reservoir with a depth (level) of 12 feet, retained by concrete and grass bank structure. The island in the middle of No.1 reservoirs contains a heronry.

No.2 Reservoir (c.1863)  extends to some 13 acres. It is a 'low' reservoir with a depth (level) of 12 feet, surrounded by a grass bank. The island in the middle of No.1 reservoirs contains a heronry.

No.3  Reservoir (c.1863)  extends to some 12 acres. It is a 'low' reservoir with a depth (level) of 12 feet, surrounded by a grass bank.

No.4 Reservoir (c.1866) extends to some 30 acres. It is a 'high' reservoir with a depth (level) of 12 feet, retained by concrete bank structure.

No.5 Reservoir (c.1866) extends to some 41 acres. It is a 'high' reservoir with a depth (level) of 19 feet, retained by concrete bank structure. There is a cormorant colony on the islands of the Reservoir.

Racecourse Reservoir (c.1885) was located on the site of the Coppermill Treatment Works.  The capacity of the reservoir was increased to 200,000,000 gallons in about 1920 by the removal of two spits of land that extended towards the middle of the reservoir . The site of the Racecourse Reservoir is now occupied by the Coppermill Treatment Works (1960's). The name Racecourse reservoir may refer to a mill race or to the sinuous horse racing track shape of the reservoir. No reference to a horse racecourse on the site can been traced.

Banbury Reservoir (c. 1903). Banbury Reservoir is a non-impounding storage reservoir named after a Directors of the Company and was inaugurated in 1903. The reservoir is formed by a continuous earth embankment with a central puddle clay core keyed into the underlying London Clay formation. The reservoir was kept at a lower level during World War II  in order to limit potential catastrophic flooding. The height of the clay core embedded within the earth embankments was raised between 1957 and 1958.

Walthamstow Reservoirs

Two further reservoirs further to the north of Walthamstow are not referenced above These are known collectively as the Chingford Reservoirs.

King George V Reservoir was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in March 2013. It covers an are of 425.5 acres (about 160 Ha.) and has a capacity of 3,073,000,000 gallons. It cost £548,000 to construct.

William Girling Reservoir

See also Walthamstow Wetlands page.

Video


The Lockwood Reservoir and the Lea Valley, Tottenham, from the north-west, 1935. http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw049532

'Fresh fish for the Lea: Seining a river at Tottenham' (a seine is a type of weighted fishing net). Photoengraving cutting depicting three scenes of fishermen at a reservoir in Tottenham 1896 (V&A  collection)

References

http://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx?layers=Designations,31&box=532421:187004:538061:189823

http://newhamstory.com/node/2423

http://www.britishdams.org/2004conf/papers/peck.pdf

Assessment of the fishery at Walthamstow Reservoirs, A.T. Ibbotson http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/14132/1/waltham_REPORT.pdf

http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/Documents/walthamstow-reservoris-so-near-and-yet-so-far.pdf

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kdihfyeMG2kC&lpg=PA381&ots=8YGuxx6Aw9&dq=lockwood%20reservoir&pg=PA381#v=onepage&q=lockwood%20reservoir&f=false

A little book on water supply 

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7-48AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA103&dq=walthamstow+reservoirs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MoHcUcyUMMGS0QWx8ICwCA&ved=0CDAQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=walthamstow%20reservoirs&f=false

© leabridge.org.uk December 2012
]