Mapperley Reservoir

The 1845, the Nottingham Enclosure Act had a large impact on Nottingham and its surrounding area as it allowed for the first time the city to expand beyond the city limits.

Until this time small water companies had provided for Nottingham’s needs via wells and tapping the waters of the River Trent. With the city’s expansion the existing sources of water these rivers and springs were becoming more polluted and new sources had to be urgently found. The Nottingham Water Act also passed during 1845 joined all the small companies into one with the formation of the Nottingham Waterworks Company.

With the rivers and springs becoming increasingly polluted, Thomas Hawksley, now Engineer to the new Company, turned for his supply to the sandstone beds on which Nottingham is built. Nearly a quarter of the Bunter Sandstone's volume is made up of interconnected spaces so enabling it to act both as an effective filter and sponge, storing vast quantities of pure water.

The water obtained from these beds was stored in the Park Row, Nottingham reservoir together with a further four reservoirs built by the Company at: Belle Vue in 1850, at Mapperley Hill in 1859, at Red Hill in 1871 and at Papplewick in 1880.

In 1880, Nottingham Corporation Water Department took over the supply of water where its Engineer, M. Ogle Tarbotton quickly found there was an urgent need for increased production and storage capacity.

The Papplewick Pumping Station north of Nottingham, was therefore opened in approximately1884, together with the  Burton Joyce works, east of Nottingham, in 1889.  Water obtained from these two pumping stations was then forced through 10 inch, 16 inch and 24 inch mains pipes to Ramsdale and Mapperley Reservoirs at a rate of three million gallons per day,

The second Mapperley reservoir was built in 1881, being brought on line in 1884.

In 1899, the four cities of Nottingham, Leicester, Sheffield and Derby  together with the county of Derbyshire formed the Derwent Valley Water Board. Three reservoirs in Derbyshire at Howden in 1912, Ladybower in 1945 and Derwent in 1960 were built. Water from these was filtered, stored in Ambergate Service Reservoir and then sent to the four cities.

The supply to Nottingham arrived at Langley Mill and flowed to Ramsdale Reservoir, where it was a mixed with water from Papplewick, before arriving at Mapperley. The supply from Howden was turned on in 1913. Complaints as to the quality of the water were received and the flow was discontinued until a new filter plant could be built at Eastwood, this being completed in 1917. By the end of 1918, the now restored supply accounted for a quarter of the area’s demand.

In 1974, the newly formed Severn Trent Water Authority assumed responsibility for supplying the region with water.

The Mapperley reservoir is still in use today and its storage capacity of nearly two million gallons adds greatly to the ever increasing supply needs of the area.

All articles © Bob Massey