Nottingham and its Water Supply and 19th Century.
With a special reference to the construction and development of Papplewick Pumping Station.
When the Nottingham Council formally took over the Nottingham Waterworks company on 25th March 1880 their long interest in acquiring the company stretching back over 25 years came to a successful conclusion. In fact with outstanding debts to settle and other legal details the actual date when the private company came under the control of Nottingham Corporation was 14th May 1880.
Without any question the Corporation took over a highly efficient undertaking. This is hardly surprising for the chief engineer to the Company was Thomas Hawksley, widely acknowledged as the greatest English Water Engineer of the 19th century. It was somewhat ironic that Hawksley, born in Arnold, was their chief Engineer to the private company supply his "home" and town whilst professionally he advised numerous civic authorities on their water suppliers; in particular Liverpool, Sheffield and Leicester.
Nottingham became established where the valley of the River Trent touched the southern extremity of the main outcrop of this Triassic Bunter sandstone. The River Leen, flowing north south to the west was diverted in the 12th century to flow west to east below this outcrop around the town. The Bunter is an invaluable reservoir rock, its loosely packed grains acted as a natural water filter. It contains little line or the soluble materials and so has a high level of purity and is moderately soft. Thus here are the three sources, surface and subterranean, for the supply of water to the greater Nottingham interior. The Permian Marls, which underlie the Bunter around Nottingham, effectively seal off the downward circulation of water.
There is little documentary and physical evidence for the early history of the water supply in Nottingham. The unallocated common well had its hauling equipment repaired in 1396. There was a "Waterleader Gate" in the lower part of the town, possibly in Broad Marsh. The highly organized Waterleaders sold horse loads of water in "bushels" to local brewers. Their water was no doubt taken from the diverted River Leen.
The recorded history of supplied water in Nottingham commences just before the end of the 17th century. Prior to 1696 the inhabitants of Nottingham obtained their water from the rivers Trent and Leen, private wells and natural springs. Some of the springs were reputed to process the medical properties, among these were The Spaw, near the Castle; St Anne's Well; and Rag Spring, visited for the cure of sore eyes. Whilst some of the Wells provided a local landlords with the basis of the good ale for which Nottingham was famous and so judged to by Celia Fiennes the traveller and diarist in 1697. Numerous private well supplying water for manufacturing processes survives to into the 20th century. Rainwater was often collected in barrels and other vessels.
In 1696 the company of proprietors of Nottingham Waterworks was formed and delivered the first public water suppliers in the town. They obtained a lease from the corporation, who had for shares in the company, and erected an engine house close to the present site of the Evening Post offices on Canal Street but then on the southern side of the River Leen. Water from the river was pumped up to a small open reservoir adjoining the ancient postern near the site of the General Hospital. From here it was delivered by gravity through pipes of various sizes, approximately one to three inches to most districts in the town. The historical Charles Deering writing c.1744 considered the supply of light-water had been "brought to a competent perfection" and had brought about a reduction in the number wells from 300 to 200.
For over a century this water from the Leen serve the inhabitants needs but early in the 19th century and every increasing number of complaints about the quality and continuity of supply forced the company to seek an alternative source. The company, now referred to as the Old Waterworks Company, obtained the requisite Act of Parliament and constructed the Scotholme works, close to the site of what was later Basford Gasworks. The water was taken from a local underground springs and from the River Leen some way above the contamination of the town. This water, coming from the Bunter sandstone, was recorded as being clear, bright and fairly pure.
Initially the only likely rival to this company was a small private undertaking, the Sion Hill Works, that raised water from a 70 metre well near the Sion Hill, now Canning Circus, and distributed it partly through pipes and with the remainder being delivered by the Water carriers known as "Higglers" customers were in New Radford, the Park Barracks and a few houses then on Nottingham Park Side.
However in the mid 1820’s the establishment of two new rival water companies increased to the competition. On the 1st December, 1824 the Nottingham New Waterworks Company built the Northern Waterworks at the top of North Sherwood Street. Water was pumped from a well fed by a deep spring into a large cistern that supplied the north-eastern area of the town.
The second company, the Nottingham Trent Waterworks Company, obtained an Act of Parliament in May 1826 to take water from the River Trent. It was set up to provide an alternative supply but initially to lack of demand, construction of the Trent Works, located close to Town Arms Inn at Trent Bridge, was not started until 1830 and completed in the following year. The water was not taken straight from the river but from gravel beds on the north side overlying the Bunter sandstone. The water went through brick filter tunnels set in the natural beds of sand and gravel and into a rectangular storage reservoir. From there it was pumped through a 45 cm cast iron main by means of a single cylinder beam engine into a reservoir at the top of Park Row. The Trent works were the first in England to inaugurate and maintain a water supply delivered at high pressure.
For the next decade or so the companies coexisted in a state of intense rivalry, a situation heightened as they had no statutory limits of supply. In the mid-1840s the three companies decided to amalgamate and by an Act of Parliament in 1845 the Nottingham Waterworks Company was formed. Through the passing of this Act the modern system of supply water to the greater Nottingham area was established.
Thomas Hawksley (1807 - 93) was of the designer of the Trent Works. He was just 23 years old when he started his 50 years of service as chief engineer to the Nottingham Waterworks Company - inevitably he was appointed chief engineer to the amalgamated company. He had a vision of streets cleaned by water jets and every house having its own water closet and earthenware drains. He was a largely self-taught engineer and his early formative years in Nottingham are of interest. After only a brief spell at the (Nottingham) Grammar School, Stoney Street, Hawksley left it 1822 at the age of 15 to become articled to Edward Staveley, the Borough Surveyor and a practising architect. Robert Jalland joined the practice and both eventually became partners in Staveley, Hawksley and Jalland. Although Staveley died in 1837 the firm's name certainly survived until 1840. Thereafter he continued as Hawksley and Jalland, until the partnership was dissolved in 1850. Hawksley moved to London in 1852 and set to or up as a consultant and civil engineer at Great George Street, Westminster. His intimate knowledge of the squalid streets, alleys and courts of the town, which he supplied with water, fuelled his passion for improving the quality of life for much of the population and made him a powerful, eloquent advocate for the enclosure of the town's ring of common fields.
Besides his works as an architect and being heavily involved with the water company, around 1840 Hawksley was appointed managing Engineer to the Nottingham Gas Company. He remained with this company until March 1874 when it was taken over by the Nottingham Corporation. Although based in London he retained his position as Engineer to the Nottingham Gaslight and Coke Company as it was now known. Here maintained such a strong interest in the major decisions of the company that, for example, the 1864 Nottingham Gas Act, was not without cause sometimes called the "Thomas Hawksley Act".
At the time of the country wide cholera outbreak of 1832 the Trent Works supplied water to barely 15,000 of the town's population of 53,000 inhabitants. There were about 1100 cases of the disease, of which 289 proved fatal. When cholera struck again with greater virulence in 1848 of all the areas in the country affected in 1832 Nottingham escaped almost untouched. Many a local authorities enquired "whether any causes can be assigned for the exemption?"
In October 1849 in a Report to Council the Town's Sanitary Committee gave the exclamation quite simply. "Since the year 1832 this town has enjoyed the blessing of an almost unlimited supply of wholesome filtered water, this admirable supply of water in Nottingham is not in it in my inestimable value by promoting the cleanliness health and comfort of the people. Mr Hawksley, Civil Engineer, has the great merit of laying down the principle of constant high pressure supply and of its successful application in his native town".
It is perhaps noting that Hawksley gained considerable respect in Nottingham when he erected a temporary cholera hospital in 1832 and is believed to have attended to there.
The first commitment by a big new water company to improve the supply of water to the town was the construction of the Park (or Sion) Hill works at the Derby Road end of the Ropewalk about 1850. The architect could well have been Hawksley himself; he most certainly would have planned this expansion. Water was obtained here from wells sunk into the Bunter Sandstone. These were of 7 ft in diameter and about 250 ft deep, with a daily output between 850,000 and 900,000 gallons.
The inhabitants of Nottingham appear to have been quite content to receive the benefits of privately supplied water and gas until the early years of the 1850s, and not unduly worried that the amalgamation of the water companies in 1845 created a large monopoly. Perhaps their awakening was spurred by the knowledge that by this time some dozen local authorities had control of the own water supply. During 1852 the Council as a large consumer of water applied to the Waterworks Company for a reduction in charges. On 15th November of that year the Estates Committee reported back to Council that the Waterworks Company refused peremptorily to consider the council's application for a reduction in charges. One of the main reasons for the Council's approach to the Waterworks Company was so that prior to amalgamation the Old Water Company refused to take payment for water supplied to the parishes of the town for street cleansing. Now that had changed. As an example to the more mercenary attitude now adopted the remarks of an anonymous director of the Water Company speaking to a representative of St Peter's Parish, and quoted at the public meeting noted below, would suffice. "Do you think that we have employed our capital with the intention of watering the streets of Nottingham for nothing? No. We intend making a profit, and you may do as you please".
Almost a year later, on the 2nd November, 1853, 600 to 800 people attended a public meeting held in the Exchange Hall to consider the propriety of the memorializing the Town Council to purchase or establish, on behalf of the town of Nottingham, the supply of water and gas. The Mayor, Thomas Cullen, who had been elected to preside over the meeting, revealed in his introductory preamble that he was a shareholder and proprietor in the company is referred to. Nevertheless he assured the Assembly, he would not allow his interest to influence the proceedings. To very impassioned speeches, at times scoring points by a sharp witticism, conveyed fully the intent of a memorial to the council. A hefty prepared memorial was put to the meeting and was carried nem. con. Those who had composed the memorial had scrutinized the balance sheets of the gas and water companies and put the capital of accompanists as Gas £108,808 and Water £60,100. It was considered that both companies could be purchased for £200,000. Manchester was quoted as an authority that had taken over its to all three water suppliers and after a two-year as well as providing water at half its previous cost. In addition the operating surplus was put towards providing new public works. The memorial was submitted to the specially convened meeting of the Town Council on 7th November and motion proposed at the meeting, that a committee be appointed to go into the matter was carried with only one objector.
The committee asked to the Gas and Water Works, reported to back to the Council on 3rd January, 1854. Whilst swiftly as offering the "opinion that under existing circumstances no adequate advantage would be gained by the Council taking upon itself the risk of the Gas supply", they felt rather differently about the supply of water. Their findings continued: "it seems, are objectionable that the supply of water, so essential for the daily use and health of all classes and for all sanitary purposes, and which cost only the expense of collection and distribution should be made the source of large profits to the capitalists". The Committee concluded by suggesting that steps be taken to acquire the water supply, with or without the consent of the Company. Both suggestions were referred back to the Committee. A committee, perhaps with the same members, was appointed to consider the Bill then being promoted by the Nottingham Waterworks Company to increase its capital.
On 6th February 1854 the Joint Committee, again recommended that the Council should purchase the Waterworks, or that alterations should be sought in the Companies Bill now before Parliament. A motion to acquire the Works was defeated. It was resolved however: i) to ask the Company to explain why so large an addition to their capital is sought, ii) that the dividend of the Company's new capital should not be more than five per cent, iii) that the Waterworks Clauses Act as to be supply of water should apply to the Nottingham Company; iv) that the council should have power to purchase shares, without limit as to number, at market price, and to have a vote for every 10 shares; and v) a petition be presented to Parliament.
Four days later the Waterworks Bill Committee came back to Council with the information that the Waterworks Company declined to adopt the Council's suggestions. A petition against the Bill was opposed. On the 27th February the Committee recommended a further attempt to come to terms with the Company and ask for the powers to oppose the Bill in Parliament, which was granted. There for the moment the Council's attempt to thwart the expansion of the Waterworks Company ceased.
In 1857 in order to satisfy the demands for water from the Company's domestic and ever increasing commercial customers, Hawksley erected a new pumping station at Bagthorpe. It was described as being in "a deep hollow on the Hucknall Lane to the north of Nottingham Forest and in the heart of the Bunter beds of the New Red Sandstone. This was later called the Basford or Haydn Road Works after that road was formed. Marriott Ogle Tarbotton, who was appointed Surveyor of the Corporation Estates and of the Local Board of Health in October 1859, later referred to this source as to "constitute the very sheet anchor of the water supply in Nottingham". His approval continued. "The well from which the water is obtained almost constant and prolific, and made been fairly taken to be one of the most successful and wealthy sources of water yield in the Triassic series of this Country can afford". The works were enlarged in 1868 an. In a booklet of 1930, celebrating the Jubilee of the City of the Nottingham Water Department it was noted that water at Basford was then obtained from three wells, each 110 ft deep, connected by drift ways. "The yield from this source has remained prolific and at the present time (1930) the works are capable of meeting all requirements".
And the Council meeting held on 6th January, 1862, the Finance Committee drew attention to a new Bill in promoted by the Waterworks Company to give them further powers. The Council empowered the Finance Committee, with others, to confer with the Company and to seek amendments if that was advisable. In fact no action was needed for on the 24th February the Clerk to the Waterworks Company notified the Council that the Bill had been withdrawn. Water charges were still a cause of concern; a specially appointed Committee dealt with a memorial to the Council on the matter in February 1863. They drew up a list of suggested charges and forwarded to them to the Waterworks Committee, but there is no record of the Company's response.
There followed several quiet years without the question of the provision of water supply being raised within Council or without. Why did the acquisition of the town's water supply slip off the Council's agenda of priorities? Within a year off his appointment in 1859 the Borough Engineer M O Tarbotton realized he would immediately have two main tasks. One was to deal with the disposal of sewage, the other was to assess and improve the infrastructure both in the old town and the new Nottingham established following the 1845 Enclosure Act. It is plausible to suggest that dealing with these many inadequacies, some of long standing together with many created by enclosure itself became the new priority. Tarbotton gradually rectified a number of them during the 1860s.
The question of the supply of water came back to Council on 7th December, 1868 when another Committee was appointed by the Council to examine a fresh Bill to be promoted by the Nottingham Waterworks Company. This Committee reported back on 25th January, 1869 with the information that the new Bill will enable the Waterworks Company to take water from the Dover Beck and erect a pumping station at Epperstone. The committee indicated they would submit a full report later. On the 22nd February the Waterworks Bill Committee reported they had put serious questions to the Directors of the Company, because they considered that the new debentures, etc., would increase the cost of water to the residents in Nottingham. They also asked on what terms the Company would sell the undertaking. The Directors refused to answer their questions and the Committee submitted a petition to Parliament against the Bill, a move later approved by the Council, in fact the Bill was not submitted.
On the 26th May 1870 the Waterworks Committee again recommended the purchase of the Waterworks Company on of the following terms. This time the Corporation would pay arrears of the dividends on old shares on of their value paid at once, ii)pay 5.5 per cent instead of 5 per cent (which must have been offered earlier) on the share capital and iii) take over the company staff.
This offer, setting out the proposal to purchase and the terms suggested to achieve this, was in a letter sent by the Mayor, James Oldknow to the Waterworks Company. The letter, together with the Company's reply, was to read to the Council on 20th June 1870. The reply stated that "the Directors cannot advise the shareholders to consent to the transfer of their undertakings to the Corporation". The Council was at pains to point out that their offer was to be put to the Shareholders, and as the Directors are not doing this, they would request that a special meeting be convened for this purpose.
This request appears to have been ignored by the Company for on 6th February, 1871 a Water Supply Committee was appointed "to take into consideration the necessity of providing a further supply of water to this town".
At this point it is worth taking an over view of the 1870s in Nottingham. This was really the decade in which the town came of age and the foundations were laid for its city status granted 20 years for later. Through the Borough Extension Act of 1877 Nottingham's population increased from 86,621 ( 1871 census ) to 186,575 ( 1881 census ). The area of the town shot up from 1,996 acres to 10,935 acres. With the, as will be noted, the rather late acquisition of the gas and water undertakings Nottingham joined the ranks of the municipal traders.
Throughout the 1870s the Waterworks Company and the Council played a kind of cat and mouse game. The Waterworks Company promoted Parliamentary Acts in 1874, 1878 and 1879. All of which were opposed by the Council. The Council in turn promoted Nottingham Improvement Acts in 1872, 1874 and 1879, two of which had clauses relating to the supply of water to the town, that of 1879 giving approval to the acquisition.
This was then the a decade in which Hawksley respected both at home and abroad received the accolade of his peers. He had already been elected the first President of the British Association of Gas Manager in 1864, the year the Nottingham undertaking was recorded as supplying gas over an area of 137 square miles and to about 150,000 people. In 1871-73 he served as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and then he became the President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 1876-77. Finally he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1878. Meanwhile for the Waterworks Company he designed the pumping station at Bestwood, erected 1871-4, and the reservoir at Papplewick, constructed in 1880.
Marriott Ogle Tarbotton, the modest, hard working Borough Engineer also became more of a public figure. Following on from earlier work undertaken by a Hawksley, Tarbotton drew attention to the acute pollution of for the River Leen. His report indicated the accumulation of filth in the river came not only from a Nottingham but also from the townships are located to the north along the line of the Leen Valley. Joint action was needed and gradually as of the decade progressed he set out the ideals for what became eventually be in Nottingham and District Sewerage Act of 1872. Following on from this Act Tarbotton conceived the idea of a sewage farm at Stoke Bardolph c. 1875 but because of opposition criticizing cost and the scale it was not a fully operational until 1880.
The joint action of the local authorities linked through the 1872 Sewerage Act, though far from perfect, did prepare the way for the extension of the Borough in 1877. Another leads came from the finding of two Royal Commission's. One of covering the administration of industrial areas visited the town in 1868. In essence their report emphatically pushed for the enlargement of the local authority areas, in the case of Nottingham pulling in of the township's of the Leen Valley and Sneinton. The other, on the Sanitary Reform, came out in favour of water suppliers being removed from private into public hands.
Within the town Tarbotton had to rectify the failings of the 1845 Enclosure Act, whose clearly defined building regulations were all too often flaunted, if not totally ignored. Access to the town also gave him some concern and as early as 1860 he reported on the need for a new bridge over the River Trent.
He had to wait until 1867 for the Council to commission him to design and erect a new bridge. With typical efficiency he built of the bridge within four years, complete in the project £1,000 below the estimated cost of £31,000. The handsome bridge was opened with some ceremony on the 25th July, 1871. Tarbotton had his memorial and his name on many lips. His involvement with the acquisition of the public utilities over the rest of the decade kept him in the limelight.
Compared to the protracted negotiations for the Waterworks, the Corporation's take-over of the Gas Company was in the end rather smooth. It was completed on 1st May 1874 when a crowded meeting of shareholders at the George Hotel approved the transfer of ownership. The accepted offer was a payment of £75 for each £50 share. The volte-face was sudden after the complete rejection of the proposal on offer in 1873, although it did follow a national trend. 13 gas undertakings passed into local authority control between 1844 to 67 and a further 68 between 1869 to 78. The formalities were empowered by the Nottingham Corporation (Gas) Act of 1874. The Corporation paid just over £463,000. For the shareholders this translated into a payment over the first seven years of an annuity offer £3-2-6d ( 6.25%) for each paid-up share followed in 1881 and after by Perpetual annuities of £3-5-0d ( 6.5 %). The Council hoped to purchase of the water undertaking on the same terms.
Thomas Hawksley, as consulting engineer to the Gas Company had been an outspoken opponent of the 1873 offer from the Corporation, maintaining they could not give security. He further questioned their ability to run a gas undertaking "if newspaper reports are anything to go by, the debates in Town Council are always upon the bad management of Corporation property". One wonders if Hawksley felt and expressed himself in a similar vein over the future ownership of the waterworks.
After the Waterworks Company turned down an offer in 1874 from the Council identical to that which secured the gas on the taking, the Council eventually came back with another firm offer in the spring of 1879. This time they increased their offer to a 6.5 per cent annuity for the first year, 6.75 per cent in the second year and seven per cent in the third and subsequent years. In addition the company would be left £20,000 to pay compensations.
The discussion over the Council's tempting, generous offer reached a critical stage. In the end of the Mayor, acting as a matter of urgency but without permission of the Council, agreed to the Directors' late to demand for an extra £10,000 in lieu of profits up to 25th March, 1880. On 5th May the Council endorsed the Mayor's action, somewhat to half heartily, by 29 votes to 16 with 6 abstentions. The final moment in this long drawn out battle for ownership and control came on 6th October, 1879 when it was announced to that through the Nottingham Improvement Act 1879 the acquisition of the Waterworks Company would officially take place on the 25th March, 1880. In short "the Corporation on the 25th day of March next, step into the shoes of the Company".
The Directors of the Company insisted upon retaining the powers secured to them by their Acts by issuing additional share capital to cover the cost of work in progress. The 300 and then a further 250 £50 shares were sold at public auction. The chairman of the Waterworks Committee and the Town Clerk attended the auction and managed to purchase 425 shares, thus saving on future annuity payments.
The accounts of the Water Committee, within their Report to Council presented on 13th June 1881, reveal further details of share ownership. Of 6,013 £50 shares in the Waterworks Company existed on 25th March, 1880, 729 had been purchased by the Corporation up to 25th March 1881. There were additionally 5,159 £19-5-0d shares, of which 47 had been acquired by the Corporation. If the outstanding loans of the Company, in total 32,050, are added to the Share valuation then the Waterworks Company was worth £432,010. Thus annuities would have to be paid on 5,284 publicly owned £50 shares and 5,112 £19.25 shares.
The last words on the deal came from J L Thackeray Chairman of the Committee. "No doubt the Directors of the Company have secured for themselves very excellent terms, but they are such as your Committee believe the Town can well afford to pay. In the end your Committee hope that the acquisition of the Water Company will not only prove a boom to the Town in a sanitary sense, but will become a successful commercial undertaking".
One significant move followed the taking over off the Waterworks Company. The role of M O Tarbotton was redefined. He had been appointed as Borough Engineer and Surveyor. When the Gas Undertaking was taken over he was appointed Gas Engineer, when the Sewage Farm came under the control of the Council with the Borough Extension he became Engineer to the Sewerage Farm. The Extension of the Borough also greatly increased the geographical area of his responsibilities as a Borough Surveyor. For this considerable increase in workload Tarbotton received no increase in pay! Now at last he was going to be relieved of his duties as a Borough Engineer and Surveyor. It was recommended to the Town Council on 5th July, 1880 that Mr Tarbotton's services should be engaged as Engineer to the Gas and Water undertakings of the Corporation, and as Engineer to the Sewerage Farm Committee, and as Consulting Engineer to the Town Council. His salary was to be fixed at £1,350, an increase on his current salary of £1,080. At an earlier meeting of the Water Committee on a 2nd February after noting "Mr Tarbotton has been with the corporation for 20 years and upwards and has proved himself a faithful and competent servant" it was proposed to increase his salary for the combined post to £1,500. The Committee felt this reasonable for they stated "Your Committee consider that the services which Mr Tarbotton will render will obviate been necessity of the employment both off Mr Hawksley, (Engineer in Chief) and of Mr Rofe, (Resident Engineer)". They observed that the although they had no idea of the salaries paid to Mr Hawksley and Mr Rofe, it must to be in excess of the £650 pro rata now on offer to Mr Tarbotton. This financial downgrading is recorded as being due to protests from meetings of ratepayers. As the salary of the Town Clerk, Samuel Johnson, was also under scrutiny the Council engaged to an independent local solicitor to write to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester in order to ascertain what these have authorities paid their engineers and their town clerks. On the basis of these replies the Council made their adjustments!
Before leaving the events leading up to the successful acquisition of the water undertaking formal acknowledgement must be given to the contributions made by the members of the Council's Water Committee, in particular Edward Ripper cover and the Town Clerk, Samuel Johnson. The Council formally acknowledged the temporary financial advantages made by I & I C Wright. " Banker's of this town", who loaned the Corporation £20,000 for three months, and who received just over this £211 "for Interest and Commission before transfer".
On 25 May the Water Committee invited their members of for the Corporation to inspect "the works of the important water undertaking recently acquired by the town". No doubt they were made aware that the Waterworks Company had served an area of 64.2 square miles (16,639 ha) within which there were an estimated 216, 992 people who consumed between the 27 - 28 million gallons (=122.7-127.3 million litres) a week. However the object was not only to impart information, but also to show adequately "the advantages accruing as a result of the negotiations pending also so long with the Waterworks Company".
From the public offices in Albert Street (demolished but located close to the present Northern entrance to Marks and Spencer's store) the large party left by special tram cars for Trent Bridge. As the day progressed so the party moved on to and around the various sites. From the Trent works they travelled by tram again and then walked to the Castle Works. From there the Park Row reservoir was visited and another short walk took them to the Sion Hill Works. From the top of the Derby Road, near by, the tram cars were used to for the journey to the Scotholme Springs. Eight carriages, each drawn by a pair of horses, were provided to convey the council to the next site, the Basford (Bagthorpe) Pumping Station. Their carriages then took the councillors to two reservoirs, first that at Redhill and then on to the latest, at Papplewick. Here it was noted that an adjacent monument erected to George the third around 1800 was "broken and cast down". Finally Bestwood was reached, examined and admired. ( No doubt somebody pointed out that the ornate chimney at Bestwood was designed to appease the aesthetic objections raised by the Duke of St Albans on whose land Bestwood was situated.) It was considered "This Pumping station is perhaps not surpassed in the Kingdom". Their party then tucked in to a very late lunch in a marquee set up in the grounds of the Bestwood station. Several speeches were made all pointing out what "a very excellent bargain had been made". A comment in a report of the day's perambulations in the 'Nottingham and Midland Counties Daily Express' (26th May, 1880) best sums this up "everything during that day went to show how thoroughly well the operations of the late company had been carried out in every department".
More details of these assets that the Corporation had acquired with the purchase of the Waterworks Company were soon made available. At the Council meeting held on 11th July, 1881 the Engineer presented a brief history of water supply in Nottingham followed by short observations of the water works then existing, even if not fully operational.
The Scotholme Works through their proximity to the River Leen was no longer producing water destined for human consumption. The spring water would be useful for bleaching and manufacturing operations. The site would provide valuable building land.
The water from the Trent Works had deteriorated to such an extent that the supply was given up when the Bestwood station opened in 1874. Through its location the site would be good for valuable building land, but the Works should not be too hastily abandoned.
Sion Hill was still working, usually on a 12 hour day but there was still sufficient water for continuous pumping. The hardness of the water and the fear of contamination from the nearby General Cemetery forced the Corporation to cease operations here early in 1893.
The Bagthorpe Works were the key installation and delivered water into the major reservoirs on Park Row and St Ann's Hill (Belle Vue) and two smaller reservoirs on Mapperley Plains. The output was 2 to 2.5 million gallons per day but it could rise to 2.5 to 3 million gallons per day.
The Bestwood Works, fully operational since 1874, was providing two lines of 18 inch mains to the Red Hill reservoir and one line of 18 inch mains to the new Papplewick reservoir about two miles north of the pumping station. There were five major reservoirs: Park Row (1830), Belle Vue on St Ann's Hill (1850), enlarged 1863, Mapperley (1859), Red Hill (1871) and Papplewick (1880). Their combined capacity was 6, 898, 043 gallons. This constituted less than two days' supply to the district.
Tarbotton continued, reviewing the immediate prospects for the new owners. "Whether the wells now being used can be further developed, or whether a new well, sunk in some carefully selected spot north of, but remote from, Bestwood should be the next step in advance, or whether some bolder scheme of enlargement, looking at the requirements of the future, would been wisest policy, the committee will shortly have to settle. A full knowledge of the status quo I have desired in this report to present, in order that no misapprehension may arise when all important subject of extension comes under discussion".
In order to provide specific backing for location of any future extension Tarbotton commissioned Professor Edward Hall of the Geographical Survey of Ireland to prepare a "Report on Additional Water Supply for Nottingham". This was delivered in October 1881.
What Tarbotton did not divulge was how much he knew of Hawksley's "blueprint" for a new pumping station in the Papplewick the area and to what extent the pumping station as built at Papplewick was reliant on an earlier plan by Hawksley. There are clues. A report to Council from the Water Committee on January 1882 includes a synopsis of the agreement between the Water Company and the landowner Mr Montagu. It opens "The late company acting under advice of their engineers Thomas Hawksley, entered into an agreement with Mr Andrew Montagu. (They) are entitled to all springs and streams of water under the extensive Papplewick and Linby estates of Mr Montagu, and the right to bore for and appropriate the water, and to construct service reservoirs, laid down mains and execute all necessary works for obtaining and storing such a supply of water as the locality will supply. The Corporation as the successor to the company was now the owner of this entitlement.
The layout at Papplewick suggests that there was provision for two pumping houses, one either side the chimney. Did Hawksley have a perception that Bestwood had long term limitations? Had he not picked the ideal spot alongside the Mansfield Road? Although more remote, Papplewick is rather near Bestwood, should two stations taking water from this same strata be located so close together? Would there be a threat of subsidence from the workings of the Linby Colliery Company ? Further clues lie in the correspondence, quoted later, from James Watt and Co. Suppliers of the engines installed at Papplewick.
Later in the year, on 29 November, Tarbotton conducted the Water Committee around the Bestwood works. The party in then visited Papplewick where he duly indicated that the site he had in mind for a new pumping station and from where a new main could easily be laid to the recently opened Papplewick reservoir. The Engineer, having stressed the urgency of the situation, was instructed to prepare a full report together for estimates for the work.
Within a fortnight Tarbotton's draft report was approved by the Water Committee and put before the Council on 9th January, 1882. Once again he delivered strong warnings. "The present demand has nearly exhausted the sources of supply at the command of your Committee and in case of an unforeseen accident the water supply of the town would be imperilled". It was at this meeting that a summary of the leasing agreements between Andrew Montagu and the former Water Company was included with the Engineers report. In addition to the points already noted, the summary outlined be way the Company could extract water from under Montague's of land within specific defined obligations. The council initially approved the scheme for Papplewick and for an additional reservoir at Mapperley at an inclusive cost of £50,000. Later this figure had to be increased. At the end of 1885 Tarbotton reckoned the cost of the new works was just over £61,500. Of Papplewick he then added, "the cost of the Undertaking has not been, in comparison with others, large, (about £55,000) which is under my original estimate of £56,500".
As always Tarbotton wasted no time and work appears to have started immediately. Just two days later he submitted a list containing ten separate items to the Committee. Boilers ordered from Messrs Galloway's had already been delivered and carted to Papplewick. The supply of timber for the temporary pumping works had gone to tender and had arrived. He had met with Mr Montague's agent Mr Cundy, and he had promised full assistance for the new works. Mr Montague's tenant farmer in the area was willing to let the Corporation take possession of any part of the land they required. The committee was shown the results of a survey, which set out to this site chosen for the works and the line of the pumping mains. For the initial work; the temporary pumping and the supervision of the sinking of the wells, the services of two experienced engineers had been obtained. Although parts of the sinking tackle needed was available at Bestwood, a large temporary pumping engine with proper sets of a lifting pumps, and deliver pumps for supply water to the reservoir would be required. Some of the pumping main was already in stock and it was probable that the recently completed Southport Waterworks, where the temporary plant was about to be sold off, could supply some suitable tackle, gearing and machinery. The Committee agreed to this last suggestion and the Engineer was given the necessary authority to take all further steps to carry out the works.
On the 30th January, Tarbotton informed a meeting of the Committee that he had been able to buy certain items from the Southport Waterworks Company at reasonable prices and work was progressing satisfactorily. He also reported the acceptance of a tender by Hawthorn Davey and Company of Leeds to supply 138 hip. engine for £1,000. He was authorized to obtain further offers for the well pumps. Two weeks later, on the 13th February, he had made arrangements for the discharge of waste water to take place partly through the plantation of Colonel Seely.
By 14th April, he was able to report that sinking forced to commence in two or three weeks and the pumping engine which had been delivered was being fixed by Hathorn, Davey and Co. The boilers were under steam and connections were being made. A steam winch was ready for work and the temporary huts and buildings were completed. A new large main from the well to the Papplewick reservoir had been laid and charged with water, and was found to be sound and satisfactory. Telegraphic communication had been established between the new works and the water department office on St Peter's Gate, erected in 1872 for the Waterworks Company, to the design of Hawksley's son and partner, Charles.
On 12th June, the committee was informed that to be well was 130 ft deep and the gauge was giving a supply of over half a million gallons per day. The strata were described as satisfactory.
The Engineer submitted another comprehensive report to the Committee on 14th August. The pilot shaft had been sunk to a depth of 190 feet (=58m) and water was being pumped at 1,300,000 gallons per day. The Committee approved the drawings for the cooling pond and tenders for its construction should be obtained. The Finance Committee was to be requested to raise £15,000, on account, out of the £50,000.
By 20th October, the new Hathorn & Davey engine for the Papplewick and Brinsley high-level supply was fixed and at work. There were no further references in the Committee minutes about Papplewick until the following September.
On the 11th September, 1882, eight tenders for the construction of the Papplewick cooling pond were opened and to that of Thomas Smart of Nottingham, at £3,448 was accepted. At the same meeting it was reported that the permanent well had reached a depth of 30 feet (9.1m). On the 29th September, the Engineer was authorized to prepare designs for the engine pumps and machinery and to obtain tenders from five named firms. In addition he was to prepare plans and specifications for the necessary lodges and related works.
The committee was informed on 23rd October that the water pumped from the temporary works to the reservoirs and gravitated to the town was 1 million gallons per day. The permanent well had been sunk to a depth of about 84 feet (=25.6m) and stood in 12 feet (=3.7m) of water. The new Mapperley main had been laid through and the junctions were to be made that week. The water through this main was to be pumped from Basford works.
The quarterly coal return up to 21st September noted that the coal stock of the value of £457 had been received at Papplewick. Since 3rd August the cost of coal consumed in the Pumping was £34-7-0d (£34.35). The new pumping station was rather isolated and building up a good stock of coal in case there was a harsh winter was a very sensible precaution. This was borne out at the meeting of the Water Committee on 11th December 1882 when in the Engineer reported that there was slow progress with the construction work on account of the weather and the state of the roads. Nevertheless, what was described as an 'incessant' supply from the temporary works was being sent to the reservoir and to the town.
The work had been commenced in advance of the legal agreement use the land from Mr Andrew Montagu. At the same meeting reference was made to a number of points, which had arisen when the Engineer and the town Clerk had met with Mr Cundy, Mr Montagu's agent. The area of land to be taken under the agreement with him was six acres for the works and four acres for the reservoir, the Mr Montagu was said to "be desiring" of meeting with the wishes of the Corporation for any additional land, which might be necessary. No rent had yet been paid for land and it was agreed to pay £100 per annum for each of last four years from capital and that the full rent of £400 per annum from September 1882 to paid from revenue.
The adits to be made from the Papplewick works were clearly understood to extend throughout the Papplewick and Linby estates if this was found necessary and desirable. The agreement provided that the Corporation should make a private roads from the Mansfield Road to the boundary of Papplewick parish. The plan of the road was shown to the Committee showing its termination at its eastern end, thus becoming an exclusively private road across the waterworks land, under the guardianship of the Superintendent living at the northeast lodge.
And their next meeting of the Committee on 24th January 1883 the Engineer reported that work at Papplewick was proceeding and the private access road was under construction. Work on the foundations and the basement of the Engine House was in progress and to the holding down plates had been received. Approval was given to the plans and the specifications for the cottages and boundary walls and tenders were to be invited. The Committee also agreed to ask for tenders for four more boilers from the Roots Boiler Company and from Messrs. Galloway.
The winter of 1882-3 must have been hard, the Committee meeting on 12th March, work at Papplewick was reported as progressing very slowly on account of the severity of the weather. It was agreed to obtain for boilers from Messrs. Galloway, and plans were approved for the arrangements of the boilers and the engine house. The four tenders received for the construction of the cottages and boundary walls were open and the lowest, that of Lynam and Kidd for £2,541 were accepted. By chance this firm was based at Castle works, Castle Road, next to the waterworks and Brewhouse Yard. Mrs Elizabeth Lynam, who ran the firm with John Kidd as building manager, was a near neighbour of Tarbotton on Newcastle Circus in the Park Estate.
On the 26th April, the committee visited the Bestwood Works and then went on to Papplewick, where it was agreed that plans of the extensions proposed for the chimney and engine house works should proceed. An arrangement with the Duke of St Albans Agent, Mr Trumper, was approved, subject to a formal agreement, for the adits and underground works at Bestwood. The committee also agreed for the road from the Mansfield Road to the Papplewick Works to be made in accordance with the arrangements made by Mr Montagu with the former Waterworks Company, to terminate at the Blidworth road.
A major step forward was taken at the meeting of the Committee on 11th May 1883 when tenders for the main engines were considered. Four tenders were received, the highest was for £16,850 but hardly surprising the Committee accepted the lowest at £10,750. This was described in the minutes as being from Bolton and Watt.
Letters to the Town Clerk revealed this came from James Watt and Company, of the Soho Foundry, Smethwick, Birmingham. Their letter of 30th May 1883 indicates that the firm, established in the 1774, was formerly known as a Bolton and Watt. These two partners were the famous engineers James Watt (1736 - 1819) and Matthew Bolton (1728 - 1809). The latter had opened a new works at Soho, near Birmingham in 1762 and in 1774 entered into partnership with James Watt.
In a letter from James Watt and Co dated 15th June 1883, from their London Office at 90 Leadenhall Street, it was stated that the time given them was too short. They said they could have the first engine completed by December and the seconds two or three months later. This was followed by another for letter dated 27th June in which it was suggested that the contract be drawn up immediately, referring to drawings with a clause that the work be done to Tarbotton's satisfaction. The letter continued "We propose to follow the designed proposed by you throughout in its general character and with reference to the design indicated for the ornamentation of the columns and entablature we shall be glad to know if we may practically adopt, subject to minor alterations to suit dimensions, the design for the columns and entablature which we are now constructing for Mr Hawksley for the Yarmouth Water Works, tracing of which we enclose? There is a great similarity and we seem to detect Mr Hawksley's design and ornamentation in your drawings. It would be a great saving in time and in getting on with the works and a convenience to ourselves to adopt the columns and entablature intended for Yarmouth for your work and we think them quite handsome". So here again are clues linking Tarbotton to the veteran Hawksley's work at Bestwood, what might have been his Papplewick, or indeed to his work elsewhere. Hawksley had long had a high regard for Tarbotton. Back on 1st April, 1862 Hawksley had proposed Tarbotton for membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
About 1910 a booklet entitled 'Great Yarmouth Waterworks Company' was printed in connection with a visit to the Company's works. This gave the information that the company had been formed under an Act of 1853 and Waterworks had been constructed at Ormesby Broad, 7.5 miles north-west of Yarmouth. James G Lynde, E.C. designed the original works, which consisted of a pumping station with two horizontal steam engines each of 30 hp. In 1857 Lynde had resigned and "Mr.Thomas Hawksley, the eminent engineer were called in by the directors to advise and all subsequent works were designed by him and (his son) Mr Charles Hawksley". In 1884 it became necessary to provide additional pumping power so another larger engine house was built with two beam engines and a boiler house with three Lancashire boilers. The engines built by James Watt and Company of Birmingham were off 60 h.p. each, to each of which were attached three pumps. The enlarged works had a capacity of 2.5 million gallons per 24 hours.
At the meeting of the Water Committee on 22nd October, 1883, the engineers reports for the municipal year was received. Referring to Papplewick, he stated that the cooling pond had been finished and Mr Smart's contract settled. The roads, banks and general surface formation were nearly finished, as was the chimney. The superstructure of the engine house was about to be started and that work was progressing on the permanent well. All details of the two new pumping engines had been finally settled with James Watt and Company and the engines were being built. The temporary engine was retained for occasional use. He anticipated that the whole of the new works, apart from the drifting, should be finished in the next year.
The Chairman informed the Committee at its meeting on 10th December, 1883 that he had visited the Papplewick works with the Engineer. He said the works were proceeding rapidly, the two lodges were occupied, the chimney was complete and the engine house was in course of erection. The Engineer showed the Committee the completed plans of the works and added that he had visited the works of the James Watt and Company at Soho, Birmingham and inspected the engines in detail. He had also visited their London Office and agreed the final drawings. The works were, he said, being carried out in a most satisfactory manner.
There was little further reference to the works at the meetings of the water Committee until 24th April 1884, when the Committee inspected the works. It was decided that the road from the Mansfield Road to the Blidworth Road should be a set out and fenced at once and that the roads be built in sections from time to time, as agreed between Mr Montagu and the former Waterworks Company.
At last on the 18th September, 1894 the Engineer informed the Water Committee that the number 1 engine had been started very successfully the previous Friday and he expected the number 2 engine to the ready in about six weeks' time. One set of pumps had been placed in the well and connected to the engine so sinking operations could continue. A month later on 20th October, it was reported that the sinking operations had reached 120 feet.
On the 9th March, 1885, Mr Blake, the manager of James Watt and Co attended the Committee meeting and said he had inspected the new engines and found them in every way satisfactory. The following month, on 18th April, it was reported that a connection had been made between the two wells and the Engineer was authorised to have the old temporary pumps fixed and made secure.
On the 21st December, 1885 the Committee approves the drafts of a general report on works to be Borough Council and also agreed that drifting operations should cease, with the pilot engines being retained and kept in working order as an auxiliary engine. On the 12th April, 1886 the Engineer reported that the works were quite completed and the committee visited them on the 31st May, 1886. In brief Papplewick had to wells 202 ft deep connected by adits 271 ft long. As at Bestwood, water at Papplewick was raised by a pair of ram pumps operated by rotative beam steam engines.
There is no further mention in the water committee minutes to either of the Papplewick works or the Engineer until 14th March 1887 when the following sad resolution was passed:
'Resolved unanimously that this committee desire to record the regret they feel at the recent sudden death of Mr M O Tarbotton, the Engineer to the Water Department and to testify to the ability and energy with which he performed his duties and their opinion of the great loss the Department has as sustained by his death'.
It was agreed that a copy of the resolutions be sent to his widow and that a full quarter's salary up to 25th March be paid to his representatives. It is appropriate that Marriott Ogle Tarbotton had lived long enough to see the Papplewick Pumping Station in full working order. Together with Trent Bridge it remains today as a memorial to a remarkable servant of Nottingham Corporation. Over worked and underpaid, he died in harness. In his various roles he laid down the foundations of modern Nottingham. He has been appointed as Surveyor to the Corporation, both in its capacity as a local board of health and as owner of estates on 6th October 1859. His selection from a shortlist of eight taken from the 52 original applicants was one off the most important decisions made by the council in the 19th century.
Once the a pumping station was in operation there was not a great deal for the committee to be concerned with apart from routine matters, such as approving coal contracts. In fact there were no further references to the Pumping Station itself until October 1888. The Committee was however to spend some time in the meanwhile on two rather contentious matters.
The untimely death of M O Tarbotton led to unfortunate repercussions, in a contrast to the harmonious way in which the department had previously been run. Tarbotton had been an Engineer of the Gas, Sewerage and Water Undertakings. Now it was decided to make separate appointments to the three undertakings. There were no problems with the appointments to the Gas Department and the Sewerage Farm but that for Water Department was an entirely different matter.
The first move of the Water Committee meeting on 19th April, 1887 was to appoint a consulting engineer. They wanted 'a gentleman of great experience to report on the undertakings when the Committee may require'. He was to be paid a fixed annual sum not exceeding £100 p.a. and was to report at least twice a year on the condition of the undertaking. This move to save money was not proceeded with and on 27th August it was decided to advertise for an engineer at £300, rising to £500 p.a. A short the list of 9 was drawn up from the 85 applicants for the post. On 14th October W.A.de Pape, engineer to Tottenham Local Board was appointed, subject to approval by the whole Borough Council. However, on 21st November the Council refused to approve the appointment, and deferred the matter for six months.
There seems to have been a certain amount of disagreement amongst members of the council about the appointment of a new engineer as some apparently wanted to appoint Mr W A Wharton, who had been in effect, if not in title, Tarbotton's deputy. However, Wharton resigned as assistant engineer in May 1888 and the Water Committee appointed a new Engineer, Lewis Thomas Godfrey-Evans, Assistant Engineer to Liverpool Corporation Waterworks. In its annual report to be a Borough Council for 1885 - 6, under the first paragraph ever to appear in a council report which showed the Papplewick Pumping Station, the caption included names M O Tarbotton and W A Walton M.I.M.E. assistant.
Another matter, which the Water Committee had to settle, was the exact terms on which the land at Papplewick was leased from Andrew Montagu. The former Waterworks Company had entered into an agreement with Andrew Montagu on 16th January 1878 in connection with the use of land at Papplewick for the construction of a reservoir. A synopsis of the Agreement had been included in a report of the Water Committee to the Borough Council on 2nd January, 1882. It appeared that there was from the beginning some doubt on the interpretation of some points in the agreement. One of these concerned the Corporation's obligations to supply water to Papplewick. Mr F.W. Fisher of Doncaster, Mr Montagu's solicitor, wrote to the Town Clerk in 1887 stating that a clause in the agreement provided this should be free. The Water Committee agreed that the matter be submitted to arbitration but it was not until May 1890 that Mr Fisher was able to write to the Town Clerk with the final settlement of the arbitrator, Mr Wolstenholme. Mr Fisher commented that the matter had been under consideration for 11 years.
The new engineer in Lewis Thomas Godfrey-Evans took up his appointment on 1st August of 1888. On the 9th October he submitted to the Water Committee plans of a proposed extension of the open shed at Papplewick and for boarding it to make a store for old materials. The next reference to Papplewick in the Water Committee minutes concerning Papplewick came on 9th April 1889. The engineer reported that he had gauged the Vincent Plantation spring on 1st April by a gauge of 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep (30.5 x 15.25cm) and found the quantity of water flowing over three inches deep (7.6cm) at the rate of 229,500 gallons per 24 hours. The Vincent Plantation still exists, about 1.5 miles to the south west of the pumping station. It was one of several such plantations in the neighbourhood which were established in the late 18th century by the owner of Papplewick Hall, the right Honourable Frederick Montagu. Each was named after a naval hero, Howe and Nelson were also honoured. Perhaps there is an association here with the monument to George lll noted earlier.
The Engineer sent a note to be Town Clerk for consideration at the committee meeting on 9th April, 1889. In it he said there was a need for labourers cottages at the Papplewick works. The need was sorely felt especially in winter. The works were situated 2.5 miles from the nearest village or dwelling places that were available and he described the roads round about as very bad. Exposure to the winter weather, he continued, invariably resulted in illness or weakness. Control of staff was difficult in such an out-of-the-way place. The report was adjourned to the next to meeting.
At the next meeting of the committee, on 14th May, 1889 plans were submitted for three proposed new cottages for the firemen at the pumping station. These were estimated to cost £840. The Committee agreed that they should be erected but to be of a plainer character than shown on the plans and costing less than £500. The site for the cottages was decided upon at the annual inspection on 6th June. On the 17th June, revised plans of the cottages were submitted to the Committee and the Chairman and Vice-chairman were authorized to negotiate with Mr Montagu for the purchase of one acre of land near the works. By 26th November no further progress had been made with the cottages and a sub committee on that day considered three different plans. They chose plan No. 3, for 3 gabled cottages in one block. However, it was not until February 1890 that tenders for the cottages were considered. 16 tenders were received and the lowest tender, that of £520 from Barber and Whitaker, was accepted. The committee was informed on 13th May that the cottages were completed.
The need for economy and seems to be uppermost in the minds of all concerned with Papplewick. On the 28th, February 1889, R. J. Parsons, the Clerk to Mansfield District Highway Board wrote to the Town Clerk about the practice which he said had prevailed for some time past, of taking the turf from the side of the road between the 8th and 9th milestone on the former Nottingham and Mansfield Turnpike, near Lord Howe's plantation. This was for the purpose of turfing the ground belonging to the Nottingham Waterworks. "Our surveyor on one occasion caught the men in the act of carting a load away and cautioned them, but the practice has continued". A similar letter was received a month later from C.J. Spencer, Clerk to the Nottingham District Highway Board about turf being taken from the sides of the road near the Pumping Station in Calverton Parish.
On the 11th February, 1890 the committee was informed of a letter from Messrs Donkin & Co. about the advantages of economy from the use of Perret's furnaces. These used dust-coal or coke breeze instead of coal and the manufacturers suggested they be tried out at Papplewick. A subcommittee was set up to consider the suggestion and it was agreed that Donkin's should fix them at their expense, the furnaces to be used for a trial period of three months, free of charge.
On the 12th August the Engineer reported on the furnaces. Based on information from Manchester and other places and from Messrs, Donkin & Co, London, they were guaranteed to save from 25% to 30% as compared with coal. The furnaces had been started on 4th June with coke breeze from the Corporation Gas Works but it was immediately found that steam could not be maintained until at least 50% coal was added to the breeze. The use of breeze was only carried on for 6 or 7 hours, as it was impossible to main steam and cost two thirds more per ton than coal. Over and eight weeks' trial period, with breeze plus coal, the increase in the cost of fuel was 4.5d per ton.
Mr Donkin had visited Papplewick on 9th July and agreed that the furnaces were not of economic due to the high price of breeze delivered to Papplewick. He offered to installed similar furnaces at Basford Works which were near the Corporation Gas Works and from where breeze could be delivered at 2/6d. Per ton. The committee did not agree to the offer and asked Donkin's to carry on at Papplewick for the trial period of three months. On the 9th September the committee was informed that a letter from Donkins agreed that the furnaces could not be made to work satisfactorily. They would be removed from Papplewick and the originals reinstalled. It was some time before further improvements were made at Papplewick. In September 1896 the Committee resolved that an installation of electric light be provided instead of the existing oil lamps.
Meanwhile in the summer of 1893 the committee had to deal with an unpleasant matter concerning Mr Godfrey-Evans, the Water Engineer. In May 1893 Councillor's Skerritt reported that he had received a letter alleging that the Water Engineer had made use of workmen, plant and materials of the Water Department for his own private purpose. A subcommittee was set up to investigate the allegations and met on seven occasions in June and July. It was alleged that Godfrey-Evans had tried to induce the Outdoor Superintendent to certify the value of work done at his home at £9, instead of the proper figure of £50. When Godfrey-Evans appeared before the subcommittee on 9th June, accompanied by his solicitor, Jesse Hind, he said he was applying for the post of Water Engineer at Brighton. On or 25th July he offered his resignation in the three months time and to pay the value of the work at his house.
The affair caused some dissension among the members of the Water Committee. The full Committee met on 25th September when a proposal was put forward that Godfrey-Evans should be allowed to continue as engineer for three months to allow him time to look for another post. This was defeated and instead it was resolved that the charges be investigated by the full Committee. The following day Alderman Gripper wrote to the Town Clark saying that after the proceedings of the Water Committee the previous evening he could no longer remain a member and therefore resigned. He went on to say that the course the Committee had taken made equal justice to all ranks of employees impossible. Two days later Councillor Samuel Froggatt also resigned for the same reason. When the Committee again met on 10th October it will decided that a special Committee appointed by the Council, instead of the Water Committee should investigate the charges. On the 10th November the Committee relieved Godfrey-Evans from further duties but decided to pay him until 23rd January 1894.
Mr Godfrey-Evans did not wait until January 1894 before starting a new career, as on 5th December, 1893 he wrote to the Town Clark, the letter heading describing him as Consulting and Sanitary Engineer and Surveyor of Brougham Chambers. On May 1895 he wrote again to the Town Clark, asking for a letter to be read to the Council. In the letter he said that it was premature to consider extending the Waterworks and further, pointed out that work done by him had not been recompense.
The Committee was apparently determined to take no chances when they came to the question of appointing a new Water Engineer. A deputation was sent to St Helen's to inquire into the confidence held by members of that borough's Council in one of the applicants Mr D.M.F. Gaskin M.I.C.E. who had for 17 years been the engineer to the water undertaking there. They must have been satisfied with the information gained as Mr Gaskin was duly appointed. There must have been some mixed feelings two years later when the Water Committee had to appoint a Sub-Committee to consider police reports on the conduct of the engineer with reference to the proprietor of the of Argus newspaper. Gaskin attended the meeting and admitted that the reports were substantially true. Further reference to this was made at a Committee Meeting on of the 12th May and a singularly uncommunicative minute recorded that the Committee had passed certain of resolutions thereon, without specifying what they were. However Gaskin seems to have received the support of the Committee. In it the following October when the Town Clark reported that he had received a complaint that the engineer had employed a departmental workman on his own private garden, the Committee decided that there was no foundation to the complaint. However he had to resign for unsatisfactory service in 1897.
Thereafter until F. W. Davies was appointed as Water Engineer and Manager in 1904, the department had a London based Consulting Engineer W D Bryan, Samuel Moore, a former accountant, as Manager, and F. W. Davies as Resident Engineer. Davies was to reign for nearly forty years.
In 1898 a long report on increasing the water supply for the ever-growing demand was submitted to the Water Committee. A new pumping station was needed. The increasing development of wells and boreholes for industrial use, besides the public needs of the densely-populated southern end of the County forced to the Committee to look at sites further northwards on the sandstone outcrop. A Bill was promoted for the erection of a new pumping station at a Boughton, 19 miles north of the centre of Nottingham and about two miles north of Ollerton. Three wells were to be sunk, two of 168 feet (51.2m) and one off 165 feet (50.3m) joined by adits, from which boreholes would be sunk to 350 feet (106.7m). Two triple expansion steam engines driving ram pumps would raise the water. Maximum output at Boughton rose to 4.5 million gallons per day. Boughton was the last well station to be erected. Thereafter, starting at Burton Joyce in 1898, only borehole stations were constructed.
In the meantime a supply to the Cockpit Hill reservoir was to be supplied from Papplewick through the existing 18 inch main as far as Bestwood, and then extending it to Dorket Head to join a new main from Cockpit Hill to Mapperley. Papplewick was to continue to supply Eastwood, Kimberley and Watnall but instead of this being done by the small auxiliary engines the main engines were to be adapted. When Boughton was completed, Papplewick would be used for the high level town and the country districts whilst Bestwood and Basford but would supply the middle and low level districts. The alterations were accompanied by a proposal to extend headings under Papplewick and Bestwood through property owned by Colonel Seely. Eventually it was agreed to pay him £150 p.a. for each of the two stations, for drift ways for about 800 yards (731.5m), the payments to be made as long as water was abstracted.
The need for additional suppliers was brought home to the Committee in June 1899 when there was a drought. Both Papplewick and Basford had been pumped to such an extent as to lower the water levels very considerably below those of the previous week. Over 44 million gallons of water had been used in the previous week, which was 1,185,000 gallons more than the maximum weekly supply in 1897. It was agreed to put advertisements in the press to try to reduce consumption.
Later in the year after considerable negotiations Nottingham together with Leicester, Sheffield and Derby formed the Derwent Valley Board to act as a baulk supply authority. There were eventually three dams: Howden (1912) holding 1,980 million gallons; Derwent (1916) holding 2,120 million gallons; and Ladybower (1945) holding 6,300 million gallons.
In 1898 it was decided that the Corporation Water Department should have new premises, the Castle Works at the junction of Castle Road and Lenton (later Castle) Boulevard would-be rebuilt. During the financial year 1898 - 9 additional land was purchased for £2,300. The designs of the appointed architect, H. Walker, incorporated workshops, stalls, stables and a house. Planning approval was granted on 8th September, 1899. Building commenced and the total expenditure, spread over the years 1899 - 1902, was about £13,900.
At their meeting of the Water Committee on 12th May 1902 it was reported in connection with the high level water supply that the main from Bestwood to the site of the proposed Ramsdale Hill reservoir was completed. The Papplewick engines had been adjusted to enable them to pump over the stand pipe at Papplewick and to the proposed new reservoir. A trial had been made with No. 2 engine and water pumped for about 2.5 hours over the stand pipe, over Dorket Head to Mapperley.
At the same meeting the first reference was made to a problem which was to be a constant one for the rest of Papplewick Pumping Stations working life. It was the threat of damage due to substance caused by the colliery workings. Linby Colliery was just over three miles distant from Papplewick Pumping Station, whilst Bestwood Colliery was not much further away. The latter was only about two miles from Bestwood Pumping Station and the workings of the two collieries could extend for several miles. A report was submitted to the July 1902 meeting of the Committee stated that the Linby Colliery workings might reach Papplewick in about five years but might not do so for 15 years.
The Report of the Water Committee to the Council on 1st July, 1907 reminded members that the workings of the Bestwood Coal and Iron Co.'s Colliery had been for some time approaching the Bestwood Waterworks of the Corporation. By agreement with the Duke of St Albans minerals under both the Bestwood Works and the Red Hill reservoir and for a width of two chains (=c.40m) around them had been reserved (left in situ) for the protection of both sites. It was now considering desirable to revoke this proviso as continuous working possessed less risk than if a pillar containing coal from the Top Hard seem be left. Council approve to the recommendation and as always wanted of the most advantageous terms to be sought. It had been suggested that the Papplewick reservoir was shut down around 1906 - 7 through mining substance, but the Jubilee of Ownership booklet, published in 1930, still includes Papplewick in a list of reservoirs "into which water is either pumped or gravitated".
The Water Committee appointed a Bestwood Colliery working Sub-Committee and early in 1910 Mr. Turner of Coke, Turner & Co. mining engineers, attended the Sub-Committee and said he had inspected the workings of Linby Colliery which were approaching Papplewick reservoir. He recommended that the colliery company be allowed to work up to the boundary of the reservoir site but not under the four acres of land over which the corporation had reservoir rights. He thought of it will be ten years before the workings reached Papplewick Pumping Station.
In the same year the Committee also had to consider another matter which was to be a problem for some years. This concerned the annual payment the Corporation had to make to Sir Charles Seely for the right to make driftways under his land. He considered that although no driftways had been made, the Papplewick Pumping Station was in fact drawing water from his estate. The Committee declared that they were not prepared to continue paying for a driftway which had not been and probably never would be constructed. Request for payment continued to be made and finally the Water Committee reported the dispute to the full City Council, as they said they would not be prepared to pay the rent without such authority. The Council agreed in December 1915 that payment due to then should be handed over but the agreement should then be terminated.
Although there are frequent references in the Water Committee minutes about the effect of the 1914 - 18 war on the undertaking, especially concerning manpower, there are no specific references to Papplewick Pumping Station. After the war there are occasional references mainly to routine matters, such as in 1921 when the Committee were informed that the iron fencing on the private road was wearing out and that the cost of replacement cover would be considerable. The Committee before agreed to replace it with a thorn hedging and the Chairman of the Public Works Committee purchased 12,000 quicks on their behalf for the hedge.
The difficult economic conditions and labour relations of the nineteen twenties are reflected in the minutes of the Committee. In February 1925 the Chairman interviewed the men employed at the various pumping stations about wages when the men said they wanted to negotiate direct with the Committee and not through the trade union. The Committee decided the rent of 2s. 6d. per week for those living in houses at the pumping stations be cancelled and that those who had to travel should get a travelling allowance of 3s. 6d. a week. A year later the Committee were informed that there had been no special difficulties during the General strike.
A further sign of changing times was in March 1930 when it was agreed that eight stokers at Basford and Papplewick Pumping Stations should attend a course of lectures at University College, Nottingham.
In 1932 the Engineer reported that the 'Delco' lighting plant which had been purchased in 1921 for £345, was worn out and that the lighting at Papplewick Pumping Station was very unsatisfactory. The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Power Company had since 1921 continued their transmission lines through the fields close to the station and offered to extend 1,300 yards (=1,189m) of the overhead cable and the necessary transformer. This would cost £650 but the company offered to charge only £100 if the Committee would agree to take a supply for lighting and heating for five years at agreed charges. The Committee accepted this offer.
Possible damage by mining substance was again considered by the Committee in 1934 when the Babbington Colliery Company proposed to sink a new shaft near the Pumping Station. The Company said they were willing to co-operate with the Water Department to minimize any risk of damage. The Engineer fixed 2 plumb bobs to record any movement of the chimney but there were few further references to this subject for the next 13 years.
In 1937 however the committee had to set up a Water (Coal Working and Stores) Sub-Committee. In March, Counsel's opinion had been obtained which stated that absolute protection for the Papplewick reservoir would cost £25,000. The Committee agreed to negotiate with the Bestwood and Linby Colliery Companies for them to take out the whole of the top hard coal under the area up to a barrier against the Linby Colliery workings as this would have minimize the risk of damage. The following month Mr Baxter of Coke Turner, mining consultants, reported that the workings of the Bestwood colliery were advancing northwards by 500 yards a year and might reach the proposed year of support in about three years' time. If these working stopped at the existing barrier, then in about six or seven years the pumping station would be fractured by the panel face. He was however doubtful if the Linby Colliery Company would ever work the coal under the pumping station as it was about two and a half miles from the pit shaft. This would mean installing electrical conveyors, which would be uneconomic. Although the coal was equally far from the Bestwood Colliery shaft that colliery had already installed a conveyor. He therefore advised purchasing all underlying seems other than the top hard. The Committee agreed to start negotiations.
At the beginning of 1938 Mr Baxter reported that he had been negotiating for the purchase of coal at various sites. Under the Coal Registration Act, which had recently been passed, all owners of coal had to register their holdings by February. If the Corporation did not agree to purchase the holdings require it to prevent damage, the present owners would have to register and this might cause transferring difficulties. He was therefore authorized to complete the negotiations. For Papplewick this meant a sum of £3,900 payable to the Linby and Babbington Companies, the Montague's estate and Sir Hugh Seely.
During the period of the Second World War 1939 - 45 there were difficulties in maintaining essential services. There is little evidence in the minutes of the Water Committee of the ways in which Papplewick managed to cope with the shortage of manpower and materials. A report in December 1942 indicated that engines, which had been working non-stop and satisfactory for nearly 60 years were causing problems. Trouble had been experienced with leakage's from No. 2 engine, from porous places in the base of the cylinder, and because of wartime conditions repairs could not be carried out properly. A foundation Pequot had become loose and steam had escaped into the Pump House. The engine had been taking out of service and the cylinder jacked off the foundations so that the base could be inspected. A hydraulic test revealed that joins of certain flanges bolted over the porous places had perished through age. These had been repaired and the engine put back into commission.
The early post-war years in some ways were more frustrating than been war years had been. Then difficulties were accepted as incidental to the great issue at stake. There was a natural desire to catch up with arrears of work, which had been necessarily postponed because of the war and in addition the was generally a greater expectation at some aspects of life should be improved. An example of the first to mentioned problems was resolved relatively easily as early as September 1945 when the existing weighbridge was replaced by a new one, a 20 ton unit with a 20 ft by 8 ft plate, costing £644. The decision to do this was reinforced by a report from the Chief Inspector of the Weights and Measures of Nottinghamshire County Council who said the old one was in a very bad condition and "hopelessly beyond the limits of error allowed".
Improvements however proved more difficult. In July 1948 the water engineer informed the Committee that when the station was built over 60 years earlier no provision had been made for the water carriage of sewage disposal. He recommended the implementation of a scheme costing an estimated £4,000. This would entail laying the drains, installation of a septic tank, pump, filter, and staff lavatory at the station and the provision of water closets and baths in the cottages. The drains were to be lead jointed cast iron pipe has because of the proximity of Colliery workings. Before work could start approval of the Ministry of Health had to be obtained. In the following February the Engineer said that such approval had been obtained and the Ministry would notify a starting date. He reported that he had only been able to obtain one firm willing to quote for the pump. The pump, motor, automatics starting and stopping gear, suction delivery pipes and a spare motor could be supplied to for £326. The quotation was accepted but the Committee had no alternative but to accept the delivery period of 56 weeks from receipt of the order!
Even by 1955, post-war difficult is still affected the undertaking. On 19th September of that year the Engineer told the Committee that private roads at six of the pumping stations, including Papplewick, had not been repaired for some years by departmental staff because of shortages of labour. It was agreed to put the work outstanding to private contractors at a cost £1750. Two years later, it was reported that the cooling pond, which had last been emptied in February 1939 had been cleaned in April and May 1957. The passage of time also meant that in 1958 the buntings in the well needed renewal and a tender of £1,667 for this work received from C. Isler and Co was accepted. An additional estimated some of £890 was required for the cost of the necessary timber, bolts and labour for winch driving.
Further improvements to three cottages were approved in 1959 when baths were installed in the sculleries and the coal fired boilers replaced by electrical appliances. The cost of £225 was partially recouped by charging a nominal rent of three shillings per week for each cottage, which previously had been occupied by workmen rent-free.
From about this time, the Water Committee's annual report to the City council contained an account by the Water Engineer on the more important developments during the year. These sometimes contain information, which does not appear in the Committee minutes. Reports for 1958/59 to 1961/62 contain references to the effect of colliery workings. In 1958/59 the chimney at Papplewick had an inclination of 2 3/32 inches to the south-east. By 1961/62 the inclination was still 2 inches to the east. The colliery workings then included Linby and the new Calverton Colliery and had resulted in a quarter inch settlement to the north-west corner of the boundary fence.
In that year, too, they had been difficulty in an obtaining sufficient draft for the boilers when both engines were working at the same time. The main flue had to be cleaned, entailing the shutting down of the station for three days when a 14 tons of flue dust and soot were removed. The following year the pump bucket of a No. 1 engine had fractured in 50 ft of water. A firm of specialist sinkers and borers, had recovered it by means of a powerful permanent magnet. Twentieth-century technology was also introduced in 1965 when the superintendent and his deputy were granted a casual user car allowance and the motor scooter which they had previously used was transferred to the Castle works at Nottingham as a spare.
The final major development at Papplewick was brought before the Water Committee on 18th September 1967, when the press was asked not to report the item. Because of the age, unreliability and high cost of operating the 84 years old engine, a scheme of electrification was approved at a cost estimated at £50,000. This sum was met from the Reserve Fund of the undertaking. This alteration also enabled and centralized control of all pumping stations to be introduced. Installation of the electrical machinery was completed by 23rd June 1969, and all plant operated on the new system on 25th June.
Shortly after the discussion to convert Papplewick Pumping Station to an electrical operation, a letter from the Minister of Public Buildings and Works was read to the Water Committee. It contained a request that the Pumping Station be scheduled as an industrial monument under the Ancient Monuments Act. The Town Clerk was asked to report on the implications, which he did on 14th October, 1968. The Committee had no are objections to the request provided it was not asked to bear the cost of maintenance and the Minister was asked if he was willing to assume guardianship. In April of the following year the minister informed the Committee that he had scheduled the Station and was also proposing to list it under section 52 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1962 as a building of special architectural or historical interest. A discussion followed on establishing a trust to administer the building. The Committee had no objection to this but decided to ask the Corporation's Museums and Libraries Committee to consider maintaining the Station and opening it to the public as part of its museum function. This was the start of a long-running saga. The Museums and Libraries Committee were unable to take over financial responsibility for the running of Station as a museum and the Water Committee considered the setting up of a Trust to administer the building.
In February 1970 the Town Clerk reported that a meeting had been held between the Corporation's representatives and two persons (not named) who had been suggested by the Minister. One of these had undertaken the formation of a Committee to examine the possibility of administering the Station so that members of the public could see the pumping engines.
In June of the following year, the Water Engineer reported to that both Boughton and Papplewick Stations had reached the end of the usable lives, as the boilers could no longer be insured at full working pressure. The Water Committee decided that the Museum's and Libraries Committee be approached again, this time to see if it might take over Boughton as a museum. Again this was declined on financial grounds. The Water Committee members were clearly in favour of retaining at least one of the Stations but were of course are unable to finance it as part of the water undertaking. The meeting of the Committee of 13th September 1971 was recorded in an unusually full minute. This stated that considerable discussion had taken place and that members of were particularly mindful of the excellent workmanship and interesting features of both stations and express the view that they should only be dismantled as a last resort. Ideally, the Committee considered, both station should be preserved, but if only one was to be retained it should be Papplewick. The Committee suggested the proceeds from the sale of the Boughton engines might be used to set up a trust fund for the maintenance of Papplewick.
As far as Boughton was concerned, the Water Engineer said that despite extensive inquiries no interest in preserving the building had been shown. The Nottingham Playhouse was interested in using the building for storage but it seemed that the engine would have to be sold as scrap. A similar situation prevailed at the next meeting of the Committee on 11th October, when the value of the engine as scrap was assessed at £10,000. As far as Papplewick was concerned the Town Clerk reported that the Committee had no power to operate station as a museum or to pay money into a Trust Fund. He reminded members that efforts to set up a Preservation Trust had started last year but have had been unsuccessful. The Committee again requested the Museum's and Libraries Committee to take the site over and offered to hand over the proceeds of the sale of the Boughton engines to assist in preservation.
The following month, November 1971, it was reported to the Water Committee that the Museum's and Libraries Committee had deferred, into a decision whilst awaiting the result of a further approach to the Department of the Environment. That Department had indicated that renewed efforts were to be made to form a Preservation Trust and that Professor Smith of Nottingham University had been approached. An inquiry had also been received from an individual (not name) who had expressed an interest in developing Papplewick as a Steam Museum.
Nothing further was mentioned in the Water Committee's minutes about Papplewick until April 1972 when it was reported that the arrangements for setting up a Preservation Trust appeared to be progressing satisfactorily. In July, the Town Clerk circulated a letter from Professor Smith who said a trust was to be set-up subject to financial considerations and asked if the Committee could help. The Water Committee again offered the proceeds of the sale of the Boughton engines and the Policy Committee of the Corporation was to be asked to consider making an annual grant to the trustees. That Committee however said it could not do so at that time.
By January 1973 the work of setting up the proposed Trust had progressed to the stage where the trust's solicitor had asked what form of title the Corporation would offer. This was agreed as a 99 year lease. The trust was next to mention to the Committee exactly year later when the Town Clerk circulated to members a copy of letter from Sir Michael Nall and reported on a meeting he had with him. Unfortunately the corporation were having difficulty in obtaining payments from the firm which had bought the Boughton engine. The Trust asked for the £5,000 already received to be handed to them and for a donation of a further £3,500. Sir Michael Nall undertook to ensure that draft deeds of terms for lease would be drawn up to ensure settlement by the 31st March 1974. On that date Corporation was to cease being the water undertaker when their functions were being taken over by the Severn Trent Water Authority.
The Committee agreed to hand over the cash so far received and as the City Treasurer to consult the District Auditor as to whether it could make a donation. If he advised against such a payment, the Financial Committee were to be asked to make provision for such a payment. Two members of the committee disagreed with this decision and asked for their names to be recorded in the minutes and as so doing. The Committee also agreed that the Trust could enter the station to effect necessary repairs. On a request from the Trust for documents connected with the Station to the loaned to them, the Committee agreed subject to its approving the list of documents and their being subject to immediate recall if required. It was also agreed that Alderman Butler be appointed as the City Council representative on the Trust.
At the meeting of the Committee on 11th February, 1974 it was noted that the District Auditor saw no objection to the Committee paying a sum of money to the project from its balances, to make up for loss of cash from the sale of the engine as scrap. Although a further £500 had been received from the purchaser, it was stated it was unlikely that further substantial sums would be received. The Committee then agreed to pay £8,500 and gave the Chairman and Vice-chairman authority to settle the detailed terms of the lease.
The Council's Water Committee met for last time on 11th March 1974 when there was no mention of Papplewick Pumping Station.