The Old Wells Discovered in Huddersfield Market Place

Illustration from a March 1906 edition of the Huddersfield Examiner.

The popular narrative that the scheme to build a water reservoir under the Market Place was abandoned as a folly after "the astounding discovery was made that water would not run uphill" is likely a myth. A newspaper article from November 1844 states that the wells were built in the late 1820s but were apparently not brought into service at that time. Instead it was proposed that they be connected to the Bradley Spout water supply. As upland reservoirs were being built in the 1820s to supply the town with drinking water (e.g. Lower Longwood Reservoir completed in 1829), the Market Place wells may have initially been planned as a storage reservoir to be fed from an upland reservoir.

The 1844 plans to build the connection to Bradley Spout were probably abandoned a few months later with the decision to build Huddersfield Railway Station across Bradley Spout Field and to then redevelop much of the area between the station and the Market Place. Instead, a much shorter conduit was laid to connect Bradley Spout to a public supply built into the viaduct wall on John William Street (reportedly a pair of simple taps). The location of the supply on John William Street was indeed lower down than the Market Place, which may have given rise to the idea that the scheme was abandoned because "water wouldn't run uphill".


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collection:Paintings, Engravings & Etchings
tags:1900-09, 1906, Huddersfield, Huddersfield Examiner (Newspaper), Market Place (Huddersfield)
date added:30 December 2016

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