warley hospital | the essex county lunatic asylum
Last update: 23|08|10
Warley Hospital

original water tower
general orientation

General view of the water tower

The water tower from the 1853 plan (coloured)

original water tower
detailed pictures

The history of the original water tower is somewhat vague. In The First 100 Years, the hospitalís historian Dr. Nightingale mentions the problems constructing the original water tower owing to quicksand being discovered (in fact most of the hospitalís building was marred by the original poor land choice). However, no such water tower appears on Kendallís original plan, and the area occupied by the structure is left completely open (as the Kitchen Courtyard). Additionally the water supply to the hospital was referred to as a "surface supply" but this mustíve been pumped to a high elevation to create the required pressure to push water around the asylum.

As the asylum grew, this water tower was clearly inadequate and a second water tower was built near the Admissions Unit.

water tower: exterior: view north-west
The water tower occupied a central position within the main building complex in between the recreation hall and chapel and standing in what was the Kitchen Courtyard.

water tower: exterior: view west
The square structure was topped with gabled roof and was largely windowless. A small octagonal stair tower was built on the southern side. The only decoration on the main water tower was the diamond motif traced out in black bricks which reoccurred on other parts of the asylum.

water tower: exterior: view west
The water tower wasnít connected to the main corridor network and had to be accessed via the former Kitchen Courtyard.

water tower: exterior: view east
Another large building (again not featured on Kendallís original plans) stood behind the water tower in the Kitchen Courtyard. Unfortunately we never gained access to this building.

water tower: exterior: view east
The octagonal stair tower was more decorated than the water tower with battlements and stone-dressed slit windows.

water tower: exterior: view west
The door to the stair tower led directly to a stone-cut spiral staircase which took you directly to the top of the water tower and the large water tanks.

water tower: interior: top of spiral staircase
The stairs eventually finished at the top of the main water tower.

water tower: interior: top of water tower
An additional flight of steps led up to the top of the tanks in the main water tower. There was no other access to any other parts of the water tower itself.

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