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
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
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