cane hill | a pictorial record of the interior organisation of the watertower

Ground Floor

The water tower was divided into two rooms (unfortunately Howell’s original plans are too blurred to decipher the function of these halves). As described by Tierney, the western half featured an office (or fume cupboard with large ventilation pipe) and switchgear; with eastern half including the staircase, piping disappearing into the floor and a “dumb waiter” for winching items up and down the tower.

The bottommost picture shows the eastern room in 2003 with the smashed (or rotten) stairway preventing access. A ladder had been leant against the wall, but like most ladders in Cane Hill, it was rotten.

Squibb Demolition had cleared the entire area and the base of the water tower was now swept clean. The original rotten stairs were also gone. However, they’d also erected extensive scaffolding and lashed up a new ladder. So we were off.

The eastern ground floor room of the water tower facing north west. The original stairs and all fixtures and fittings have been removed. © Simon Cornwell 2008

The same area showing the smashed/rotten original staircase taken in 2003. © Simon Cornwell 2003