History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies (1939) - Chapter V

The following is a transcription of a historic book and may contain occasional small errors.

History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies (1939) by T.W. Woodhead

Table of Contents:




On July 7th, 1868, the Charter was granted and Huddersfield became a Municipal Borough. The Charter was issued from the Home Office, July 9th, and brought to Huddersfield the same night by Joseph Batley, Clerk to the Improvement Commissioners, who became the first Town Clerk of Huddersfield. By an indenture dated 10th October, 1868, the Improvement Commissioners transferred to the Corporation all their rights, powers, estates, property and liabilities. The first Council met on Septe.Tiber 7th, 1868. A full account of the proceedings lasting "above six hours" was issued as a pamphlet of twenty-seven pages entitled "Inaugural Meeting of the Huddersfield Town Council."

At the date of Incorporation the population was estimated at 72,455, rateable value £199,477, and an acreage of 10,436. There were twelve wards with fourteen Aldermen and forty-two Councillors.

Twenty years later, by a Local Government Act of 1888, Huddersfield was created a County Borough from April 1st, 1889, and had a rateable value of £358,808, and in 1890, Longwood was added to the Borough, bringing the acreage to 11,870 and the members of the Council increased to fifteen Aldermen and forty-five Councillors. In 1891 the population was 95,422.

In 1937 there was a review of the County districts, resulting in parts of Brighouse, Fixby, Stainland, South Crosland, Linthwaite, Golcar, Kirkheaton and Lepton, being added to the Borough. These changes increased the acreage from 11,875 acres to 14,149 acres, the population from 113,475 to 123,030, and the rateable value from £847,394 to £909,444. One new ward, the Milnsbridge Ward, was created ; the remainder of the added area was incorporated in existing wards. The Council was increased to sixteen Aldermen and forty-eight Councillors.

In 1938, by a rearrangement of the wards, the number was reduced to fifteen, with fifteen Aldermen and forty-five Councillors. The wards now are Longwood, Lindley, Birkby, Deighton, Fartown, Marsh, Paddock, Milnsbridge, Crosland Moor, South Central, North Central, Dalton, Almondbury, Newsome and Lockwood ; West Central and Moldgreen are no longer ward names.

The first Mayor of the Borough was Charles Henry Jones, who served from 1868 to 1871 (Fig. 31). He was a member of the Improvement Commissioners from 1853 to 1857 and served as Chairman of that body. He was a vigorous, experienced and far-sighted man and a tower of strength in the early years of the Incorporation of the Borough. One of the first problems to receive the attention of the Council Was that of an adequate water supply for both domestic and trade purposes, and to develop the schemes already planned by the Waterworks Commissioners. Application to Parliament was made for powers, and on July 12th, 1869, the Huddersfield Waterworks Act was obtained. "An Act for transferring to the Corporation of Huddersfield the undertaking of the Commissioners for the Huddersfield Waterworks, and for empowering the Corporation to construct additional waterworks, and to supply water within extended limits." The Waterworks Authority is governed by this Act, in conjunction with the Waterworks Clauses Acts of 1847 and 1863, where these apply. Mr. George Crowther's valuation for the undertaking dated August, 1869, was £58,663 14s. 2d.

At a meeting of the Waterworks Committee held on Friday, the 12th November, 1869, the Mayor, Alderman C. H. Jones, was appointed the first Chairman, and Councillor Joseph Crosland, Vice-Chairman. Alderman Jones was also appointed Chairman of the "New Works Sub-Committee." He remained Chairman of these Committees until he retired from the Council in 1872, when he was ably succeeded as Chairman on November 14th, 1872, by Alderman Wright Mellor (Fig. 35), with Alderman James Crosland as Vice-Chairman, one of the Wessenden Commissioners. Alderman Mellor continued as Chairman of the Waterworks Committee from 1872 until his retirement from the Council in 1892, when he Was succeeded by Alderman James Crosland in November, 1892. During this period Deerhill, Blackmoorfoot, and Wessenden Head Reservoirs were completed, and Wessenden Old Reservoir purchased from the Wessenden Commissioners.



The County Borough has a wide range of altitude — from 150 feet at Colne Bridge, to 1,244 feet above sea level at Scape Goat Hill. To meet the requirements for water, it was necessary to have a heading and storage capacity sufficient to deliver a supply of water to all who needed it within that area. In addition provision had to be made for a supply to numerous villages outside the County Borough, making a total area of 51,824 acres (Fig. 32).

As we have seen, the neighbouring Pennine hills attain in our District an altitude of 1,909 feet O.D. at Black Hill, have a mean annual rainfall of fifty to sixty inches, and provide many sites for collecting reservoirs and gravitational supplies. With such a rainfall, we seldom suffer from variable and uncertain flow. Our chief sources of supply are from the direct run-off on these high peat-clad moorlands, and from the numerous springs issuing from the valley sides, especially between the permeable sandstones and impermeable shales and at the fault scarps.

As we have seen above the geological structure of the Central Pennines determines largely the quality of the water derived from the area and this in turn has had an important influence on the origin and development of our local industry. The rocks are mainly siliceous sandstones and are very deficient in lime ; further these beds are covered by enormous deposits of peat, which not only discolour the water but render it acid. How some of these conditions affect local needs may thus be illustrated :—

As a rule, water from the Millstone Grit area is very soft, and on the whole this is of great advantage to our local textile trade. The sandstones commonly contain grains of felspar — a complex silicate of alumina and an alkaline base. When this decomposes, soluble alkaline silicates are produced which readily exchange acids with any lime or magnesia, resulting generally in insoluble silicates also carbonates and sulphates of soda.

Such waters are much desired for wool scouring and for dyeing in certain colours. In the former it economises soap and in the latter, in some cases, it prevents the deposit of an insoluble crust on the fibre which if produced would result in an uneven dye. In other cases it economises the dyestuff and may supply an indespensable adjunct. On the other hand a soft water is detrimental to certain dyes, and hard water is necessary.

Occasionally the water from the grits may show a considerable degree of hardness, as at Rake Dike, near Holme, where in 1922 a party of botanists discovered on the wet dripping rocks by the stream, a moss (Hypnum commutatum Hedwig) and a liverwort (Pellia Fabbroniana Raddi), which are usually confined to calcarious soils. Mr. W.H. Burrell, who made the discovery, examined the water issuing from the rocks at this point and found it to contain 9–10 degrees of hardness. Mr. W. Edwards, of the Geological Survey, on being notified of the find, was at once able to identify the exact locality as the outcrop of a bed of fossil goniatites of the marine band mut. β. The normal stream water of the district gives only 3 or 4 degrees or less.

The deep deposits of cotton-grass peat provide an important check to the run-off, and the water absorbed by the spongy peat is released slowly during dry periods and thus conserves the supply.

The cloughs leading from these peat moors contain scattered remnants of oak-birch forest and their story is one of long and steady decay. In the days prior to and during the Industrial Revolution, much timber was cut from these woodlands to meet local needs, and in the absence of replanting, long stretches of these clough sides have become treeless and are now covered with extensive sheets of bracken.

The clough and moorland slopes would be suitable for replanting, but the Pennines as a whole, especially the peat covered plateau, cannot be regarded as suitable for the growth of timber on economic lines, though as shown in Museum Handbook, No. 5 (24), forests were formerly extensive in areas which have long been treeless and are now useless for afforestation. Here and there may be seen small-scale attempts at afforestation which have proved unsuccessful ; in part owing to exposure of the small area planted.

The Forestry Commissioners, as well as many Waterworks Authorities, realise the importance of woodland in catchment areas, and attempts are being made in many places to re-afforest these bracken and heath covered valley sides. Among the advantages of a tree covering, the following, as indicated by Mr. A.P. Long, of the Forestry Commission (15), may be mentioned. Transpiration from the leafy canopy increases humidity, heat is absorbed during evaporation, and the foliage cannot become heated to the same extent as the bare soil, which is thus protected; hence the temperature is lowered in and above the forest. Moisture-laden currents on meeting these conditions tend to precipitate more of their moisture in the neighbourhood of the forest and so increase the yield in the catchment area. This is the case at least with large tracts of forest. Evaporation from soils is less in the forest than in the open ; the leafy canopy breaks the fall of rain ; the humus layer absorbs and delays run-off, and water coming from the forest is less acid than that coming from the peat. The seepage water from the peat, making its way down the valley sides, when reaching the forest, becomes entangled in the humus, thus checking evaporation and increasing natural filtration. The roots of trees render the soil porous, permit absorption to the deeper layers and so replenish the springs ; hence a better distribution of the run-off which is important when the bulk of the run-off has to be conserved in reservoirs. Forests also reduce soil erosion and thus reduce silting.

It is on these grounds that forests have, in general been regarded as the ideal vegetative cover for important catchments. The spruce, however, so favoured by our foresters on economic grounds, is alien to our moorland cloughs. On the other hand, the planting of hard woods in the proximity of reservoirs is a danger by blocking with hard wood leaves. The Forestry Department is not only prepared to give advice as to lay out, selection of trees and establishment of a nursery, where forestry schemes are contemplated, but they will also give grants.

This water from the peat-clad moors and moorland cloughs is collected into reservoirs by the impounding of streams from the uplands, by the construction of dams across the narrow moorland valleys, and the water from tributary streams is drained into conduits which convey the supply to the impounding reservoirs. The steep and narrow valleys draining our catchment areas, however, do not admit the construction of reservoirs of large size as compared with sites available for some other towns, in consequence we have to resort to many reservoirs of relatively small size, necessitating numerous filter stations, with their attendants, resulting in increased cost of construction and supervision.

As stated above, the water impounded in the storage reservoirs for domestic and trade supplies, is diverted from its natural course, and riparian owners and occupiers down stream are placed at a disadvantage. Further, in every valley suggested by the Corporation for reservoir constructions, riparian owners had already made reservoirs for use in the factories and works below. In consequence an agreed volume has to be liberated daily from these new collecting reservoirs as compensation. This, however, had the advantage of maintaining a more regular supply for users, especially in times of drought.



The first reservoir to be constructed, after Incorporation, was at Deerhill, for which powers were obtained by the Act of 1869. The site had already been selected by the Waterworks Commissioners.

In George Crowther's report September 27th, 1861, he said the deputation of the Waterworks Commissioners visited "Lingards Moor and inspected the reservoir on Lord Dartmouth's estate containing about three-and-a-half acres originally constructed by the millowners and at present not in use ... There is a very good spring on the north side of Deer Hill which flows into Lingards Reservoir, the quality of which was pronounced by one of your deputation to be so good that any mixture spoiled it."

On this site the Corporation commenced the construction of the Deerhill Reservoir and it included the old Deerhill or Lingards Reservoir in the north-east corner. The first sod was cut in August, 1870, and the foundation stone laid by the Mayor, Alderman C. H. Jones, first Chairman of the Waterworks Committee, on September 21st, 1871. It was filled to overflowing on September 3rd, 1875, and had a capacity of 160 million gallons ; the cost was £127,095 7s. 5d. Later by raising the overflow the capacity has been increased to 171 million gallons (Fig. 33).

In addition to the springs, water is conveyed into the reservoir by means of a catchwater conduit two-and-a-half miles long which starts near the Wessenden Head Reservoir at 1,260 feet O.D., follows the side of the valley to Buin Edge, then at Upper Acre Head turns westwards along Holme Moor to the reservoir at Deerhill. To meet the requirements of the Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act, 1930, the puddle core of the embankment was raised.

This reservoir covers thirty-eight acres ; the top water level is 1,145 feet O.D., and has a drainage area of eight hundred acres.

Compensation to the millowners in Wessenden and the Colne Valley is delivered from this reservoir at various points, amounting in the aggregate to 481,680 gallons per working day. There is also a connection from this reservoir with the Wessenden Main, which supplies the high levels so as to supplement that supply as occasion requires. A twelve inch main is laid from this reservoir via Meltham, Netherthong, Thongsbridge, and New Mill, to the tank at Shepley Marsh for the supply of the higher parts of Shepley, Shelley, Lepton and Emley Townships.

In 1899 slow sand filters were constructed consisting of three filter beds, each with an area of 1,200 square yards. These proved unsatisfactory, being slow and costly, and Were eventually superseded by pressure filters in 1933, when a Filter Station was built provided with twelve filter shells, for treating this supply. The filtered water is collected into service reservoirs adapted from the earlier sand filters (Fig. 33a) ; these were covered in 1938, and have a total capacity of 1,215,000 gallons.

The reserve in the foreground of Fig. 33 is fed by springs at Shooters Nab and was formerly used for sand washing for the slow sand filters, but now used for the chlorinating plant at the Filter House.

There are no fish now in this reservoir, but in his "Views of Huddersfield New Waterworks" published in 1879, Henry G. Churchill gives a good illustration of a "fish ladder at Deerhill." No angling is allowed in any of the storage reservoirs other than the compensation reservoir at Longwood.


Though the Corporation adopted this site suggested by the Waterworks Commissioners they developed a much larger, scheme. The Commissioners suggested a site of eighty-four acres and a catchment of 1,584 acres. The scheme adopted by the Corporation from powers obtained by Act of Parliament in 1869 has a drainage area of 1,900 acres, and the water covers 1,011 acres when the reservoir is full. This is the largest of our reservoirs ; the first sod was cut on May 1st, 1871, about twenty men taking part in the work in the presence of officials who witnessed the commencement of the work. The foundation stone was laid by the Mayor, Alderman Wright Mellor (Fig. 35), Chairman of the Waterworks Committee, on October 5th, 1872, and the reservoir was filled to over-flowing on December 20th, 1876. The reservoir is situated at the foot of Meltham Cop, between Linthwaite and Meltham at an elevation of 832 feet above sea level to the top water line, and contained 675 million gallons (Fig. 34).

There are two embankments to this reservoir, one on the north side and one on the south side. The larger embankment is that on the north side, being eight hundred and fifty yards long, four hundred feet wide at its base, and seventy feet high. The southern embankment is five hundred yards long, two hundred and forty feet wide at its base, and forty feet high.

The cost of this reservoir was £260,549.

In the Mayoral Review on November 11th, 1884, Alderman Wright Mellor stated that the reservoirs had been tested by a severe and prolonged drought, the rainfall being eleven inches less than the preceding year and nearly seven inches less than the average for the eleven preceding years. This led the Waterworks Committee to consider improving the existing storage. In the Mayoral Review by Alderman J. Varley on November 14th, 1885, it was stated that "the overflow shafts at Blackmoorfoot Reservoir have been raised twelve inches, thereby increasing the storage capacity by 30 millions of gallons, a further precaution against drought ... The water in Blackmoorfoot Reservoir is now 670 millions of gallons as against 150 million last year, an increase of 520 millions of gallons." Later the overflow shafts were again raised twelve inches and the present capacity is 705 million gallons.

The water from the gathering ground is conveyed into the reservoir by means of two catchwater conduits constructed along the contours of the hills for a distance of five-and-a-half miles ; one starting at Scout Holes, Marsden, at 975 ft. O.D. passes along the foot of Lingards Wood to Slacks then round the hill above Holt Head turns towards Deer Hill to White Reaps then to Laund, where it is joined by another catchwater Drain which starts near Royd Edge at 850 ft. O.D. This crosses the Wressenden Head Road, past the Meltham Roman camp, to Brow Grains, then crossing the Brow Grains Dyke bends sharply north-west to Laund, then the now united drains pass below Meltham Cop to the Reservoir. Thus the reservoir receives its supply from two drainage areas : (1) Hall Dyke, a tributary of the Holme ; and (2) Wessenden Brook, a tributary of the Colne.

At Brow Grains the water of the conduit is supplemented by water pumped from a series of boreholes running along the line of a fault. This catchwater receives an additional supply from a borehole near Blackmoorfoot reservoir. A curious optical illusion is seen on viewing from the Wessenden Head Road the conduit as it passes from Brow Grains, 875 ft. O.D. to Blackmoorfoot, 831 ft. O.D., when the water appears to be running uphill.

The supply of water for the town and neighbourhood from this reservoir is three million gallons per day, exclusive of compensation water, 841,680 gallons, which is given out during twelve hours of every lawful working day. Here two Filter Stations have been constructed, one on the north side, with twenty filter shells ; sixteen of these commenced working in January, 1916, and four more were added in July of the same year. In July, 1938, a Booster Station was installed here to increase the force to the pressure filters, when the reservoir is low. On the south side is a Filter Station with six filter shells, which commenced working in October, 1918. The filtered water is conveyed to two service reservoirs on the north side, with a total capacity of two million gallons, and two reservoirs on the south side with a total capacity of 890,000 gallons.

The main pipe from this reservoir to Huddersfield is laid from the north tunnel entrance, along the highway in the township of Linthwaite to Milnsbridge, where it crosses under the bed of the River Colne and thence under the viaduct of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company at Longwood Station, near which there is a connection with the Longwood Reservoir main, whereby water can be sent into that reservoir to supplement its own supplies as required. The main then passes to Paddock, and thence across the fields to Marsh and along the New Hey Road into the Snodley Reservoir at West Hill which is situate at a height of 500 feet above sea level and is constructed to hold one-and-a-quarter million gallons. From this service reservoir water is distributed through the town and is also taken forward along the Leeds Road for the supply of Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

The main from the south entrance tunnel at Blackmoorfoot conveys the water to the villages of Netherton, Armitage Bridge, Berry Brow, Honley, Almondbury, Kirkheaton, Lepton, Shelley and Shepley, and also to a portion of Huddersfield.

To meet the requirements of the Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act, 1930, the puddle cores of the embankments were raised three feet.


This valley, situated about seven miles to the south-west of Huddersfield, affords an important source of supply for the town and neighbourhood. In the valley are four reservoirs, viz., Wessenden Head, Wessenden Old, Blakeley and Butterley.

As its name implies, the Wessenden Old Reservoir was the first to be constructed. By the Wessenden Act of 1836 Wessenden Commissioners were constituted and incorporated and were empowered to make and maintain a reservoir called the Wessenden Reservoir for the supply of millowners lower down the valley.

This reservoir has a capacity of one hundred and seven million gallons and is formed by an embankment built across the Wessenden Brook, the top water being 984 feet above sea level (Figs. 28 and 36).

Attention by the Corporation was early directed to this valley as a further source of supply and in the Huddersfield Waterworks Act of 1871 the Corporation in consideration for appropriating the Wessenden Springs, were authorised to pay off the mortgage debt of the Wessenden Commissioners amounting to £10,000, and required to enlarge the Wessenden Reservoir by raising the top water level. This scheme, however, was abandoned in favour of an additional reservoir at Wessenden Head, powers for the construction of which were obtained in the Huddersfield Waterworks and Improvement Act of 1876.

The Huddersfield Waterworks Act of 1890 empowered the Corporation to purchase from the Wessenden Commissioners the Wessenden Reservoir. An agreement dated the twenty-ninth day of March, 1890, made between the Corporation and the Commissioners that "on payment of £50,000 the Wessenden undertaking shall vest in the Corporation from and after the completion of the Butterley Reservoir by this Act authorised." This sum of £50,000 was paid to the Commissioners on January 24th, 1891.


By the Huddersfield Waterworks and Improvements Act of 1876, powers were obtained to construct this new reservoir and to impound in it the additional waters intended to be impounded by the enlargement of the Wessenden Reservoir. This is the highest reservoir in the valley, the top water is 1,268 feet above sea level and has a capacity of eighty-two million gallons (Fig. 36). By means of a sluice in the Shiny Brook, a tributary of the Wessenden Brook, water is conveyed along a catchwater drain to this reservoir, seen on the left of the illustration.

The reservoir was commenced on March 27th, 1877, and Fig. 37, showing the puddlers at work on the embankment, is from a photograph by H. G. Churchill, 1879. This reservoir was completed on August 18th, 1881, at a cost of £57,510 5s. 5d. On October 9th, 1934, it was reported that the alterations and repairs to the banks of this and the Wessenden Old Reservoirs, required to be done under the Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act, 1930, had now been completed. From this reservoir a twelve inch main is laid via Marsden, Slaithwaite and Golcar to Scapegoat Hill, Longwood.

At Scapegoat Hill a Filter Station, provided with six filter shells, was constructed for treating the Wessenden Head water ; the filters commenced working in February, 1914. The filtered water is passed into an adjoining service reservoir with a capacity of one-and-a-half million gallons and supplies the high level districts. The altitude of this service reservoir is 1,152 feet above sea level.

A borehole at Wessenden Head, near the Greenfield Road, gives a yield of ninety thousand gallons a day, but by pumping, a yield was obtained of two hundred thousand gallons a day. An adit from this borehole extends to near the tail end of Wessenden Head Reservoir. The water is conveyed through the adit by means of a 12 inch pipe, and forward to the catch water to Deerhill. The overflow from the reservoir may also enter this catchwater, which connects not only with Deerhill, but gives off a branch to Blackmoorfoot.


Three springs, Great Dyke Spring, Blake Clough, and Blakeley Clough Springs, situated on the west side of Wessenden Reservoir, are piped into a tank at an elevation of 1,025 feet O.D., from which water is conveyed by a nine inch main down the valley to Marsden and thence passing along the Manchester and Huddersfield Turnpike Road to Slaithwaite, where there is a connection with the Deerhill main. From thence the main that supplies Golcar, branches off up the Crimble Valley to the Service Reservoirs at Windy End and Clough Head, and thence to Outlane. The main continues along the Manchester Road through Milnsbridge and Quarmby, to the Service Reservoir at Lindley.

The Wessenden springs are estimated to yield on an average 350,000 gallons per day, but there is a tendency for these springs, also those at Longwood, to produce a lower yield than formerly.

The surplus water after supplying the nine-inch main above referred to, passes into an eighteen-inch main laid across the valley to the catchwater conduit at Scout, and thence along this conduit to the Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. This main was laid in 1887.


The construction of this reservoir was authorised by the Waterworks Act of 1871, but work was delayed and in the Waterworks Act of 1882 and again in 1896 the period for the construction of this reservoir was extended until July 13th, 1901. Construction was commenced on November 26th, 1896, but completion of this reservoir was "delayed on account of engineering difficulties," and was not filled to overflowing until August 16th, 1903. The bywash, etc., was finished on April 30th, 1904. As with the two upper reservoirs, an embankment was constructed across the valley and below the Wessenden Old Reservoir. It covers about nine-and-a-half acres, the top water level is 848 feet above sea level, the depth of the water in front of the embankment is sixty-three feet, and the height of the embankment eighty feet above the level of the Wessenden Brook at the point of crossing. The capacity is eighty million gallons (Fig. 38) and the cost of construction was £102,279 4d. 8d.

This Reservoir is picturesquely situated and on its right bank was a large rocking stone (Fig. 39), recently dislodged.

The Reservoir at Blakeley, kept at a high level, is used to supplement the supply at Deerhill, by means of pumping (Fig. 51) in times of drought ; the overflow passes to the Butterley Reservoir below.


This Reservoir was authorised by the Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks Act of 1890 and is formed by an embankment placed across the Wessenden Brook about a mile below the Blakeley Reservoir, on the site of Upper Bank Bottom Mills.

The first sod was cut on Thursday, 27th August, 1891, by Alderman James Crosland, Deputy Chairman of the Waterworks Committee.[1]

Some idea of the size of the puddle trench may be obtained from Fig. 40, which is from a photograph taken during its construction, and Fig. 37 shows the puddlers at work filling in a similar trench at Wessenden Head. A large quantity of boulder clay was brought from Greenfield, five miles away, for use as puddle in the construction of the embankments, much of this, however, was not used and it still remains in the neighbourhood of the reservoir. Care will be necessary in future not to mistake this for a deposit of local ice-borne material.

The top of the embankment is 111 feet above the level of the stream. The capacity is four hundred and three million gallons, the surface area forty-three acres, the greatest depth of water ninety-four feet, and the top water seven hundred and seventy feet above sea level (Fig. 38).

Compensation water is given out from this Reservoir at the rate of 2,258,640 gallons per working day in respect of the Wessenden watershed. From the reservoir a twenty-four inch main is laid for domestic and trade purposes via Marsden, Lingards, Linthwaite and Golcar to Longwood Lower Reservoir to supplement the lower level supply.

Doubts expressed by authorities many years previously as to the suitability of Butterley as the site of a reservoir proved only too true during the construction. The valley is in the Millstone Grits and consists of alternating beds of sandstone and shale ; a good section is seen along the western bank of Blakeley Reservoir. Higher up the valley, these rocks proved suitable and no difficulties were encountered in respect to Wessenden Old and Wessenden Head Reservoirs. On the completion of Butterley Reservoir, however, leaks began to appear when the Reservoir was half full, water gushing out from the face and sides of the embankment. "A geological investigation disclosed the fact that, whereas the strata at the upper part of the valley were dipping gently and steadily downstream and were sound, at the lower end at Butterley the beds curved over with rapidly accelerating dip, the joints were stretched open and water easily found its way through the fissures." (Fig. 41). Owing to delay thus caused, an extension of powers was applied for and in the Huddersfield Corporation Act of July, 1902, it is stated, "And whereas the Corporation have nearly completed the construction of the embankment of the said Butterley Reservoir by reason of engineering difficulties the completion of the works of the said reservoir has been delayed and the cost of construction thereof has been and will be increased."

These remedial works including the construction of wing trenches, cost an additional £79,670 5s. 0d., and the reservoir was completed June 16th, 1906, and filled to overflowing in December, 1906.

The above difficulties are now overcome by cement grouting, when liquid cement is driven, under great pressure, into the joints and fissures of the rocks, whereby the beds are rendered watertight ; an effective and less costly process.

A settling tank at Butterley was commenced on February 15th, 1904, water turned through on May 7th, and completed in October, 1904. The object of the settling tank, placed at the head of a collecting reservoir, is to allow silt, sand and peat to be deposited from the feeder and though a certain amount of fine material is carried over, the water entering the reservoir is much cleaner.

The supply from this reservoir is treated at two Filter Stations, one at Longwood, where six filter shells were installed in 1910, and in 1916 four more were added, the filtered water from this station passing into the Longwood Lower Reservoir. The other is at Cowlersley where three filter shells commenced working in June, 1919. Here there is a service reservoir for the filtered water, with a capacity of 128,000 gallons.


This reservoir, unlike all others belonging to the Corporation, is in the Calder drainage, on the tributary Black Burne Brook in the Deanhead valley.

In 1838 an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the Deanhead Commissioners to make a reservoir by constructing an embankment across the Black Burne Brook for the purpose of supplying water to the mills of the Blackburn valley. On October 3rd, 1838, the first stone of this reservoir was laid by the Rev. Wm. Younger, incumbent of Deanhead, and the Rev. J.C. Franks, Vicar of Huddersfield, gave an address on the advantages the surrounding district would derive from so spirited an undertaking. The reservoir has a capacity of 100,000,000 gallons and its top water level is 993 feet above sea level.

In 1913 the reservoir was purchased from the Deanhead Commissioners by the Corporation for £12,580 0s. 0d., but owing to the Great War it was not put into use until 1922. The illustration (Fig. 42), taken in 1913, shows the need for settling tanks at the entrance to the reservoirs. In this case silt had accumulated to a depth of 12 feet, thus greatly reducing the capacity of the reservoir.

In 1935 the embankment was raised and the overflow widened to secure greater safety in case of extreme flood and to comply with the Safety of Reservoirs Provision Act, 1930.

The water from Deanhead Reservoir is conveyed by a pipe line to a Filter Station at Hill Top, Lindley, where three filter shells were installed and commenced working in December, 1922. In 1936 an additional filter shell was added to this station. The cost of the pipe line from the reservoir was £17,800, and the Hill Top Filter Station and plant Were built at a cost of £14,000 11s. 0d. The filtered water is passed into the Hill Top service reservoir which has a capacity of 570,000 gallons.

The amount of compensation water given out from the Deanhead Reservoir is 240,137 gallons per day.

Continue to Chapter VI...

Notes and References

  1. For the ceremony, a silver spade with ebony handle was provided, very elaborately engraved, and bearing the following inscription : "Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks : Presented by the Corporation of Huddersfield to : Mr. Alderman James Crosland : On Thursday, the 27th day of August, 1891, on the occasion of : His cutting the first sod : of Butterly Reservoir : Godfrey Sykes, Mayor. Henry Barber, Town Clerk. Wright Mellor, Chairman of the Waterworks Committee.