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Gates, gatepiers and boundary walls at Hewlett's Reservoir

A Grade II Listed Building in Battledown, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8975 / 51°53'50"N

Longitude: -2.0388 / 2°2'19"W

OS Eastings: 397427

OS Northings: 222101

OS Grid: SO974221

Mapcode National: GBR 2M6.TMB

Mapcode Global: VHB1Q.MK1S

Entry Name: Gates, gatepiers and boundary walls at Hewlett's Reservoir

Listing Date: 14 December 1983

Last Amended: 2 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1104330

English Heritage Legacy ID: 474697

Location: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cheltenham

Electoral Ward/Division: Battledown

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Cheltenham

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Charlton Kings St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

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Cheltenham

Summary

Gatepiers with gates, dating from 1824, and flanking boundary walls, 1824 and 1850s, to the Hewlett’s Reservoir complex.

Description


Gatepiers with gates, dating from 1824, and flanking boundary walls, 1824 and 1850s, to the Hewlett’s Reservoir complex.

MATERIALS
Cast-iron gates; limestone piers; red brick boundary walls.

DESCRIPTION
Tudor Revival-style, square section, ashlar GATE PIERS, circa 2m high, with crested, pyramidal capping and inset, traceried panels with cusping to each face. Between them are heavy, cast-iron GATES with pyramidal heads to the rails. The brick flanking WALLS, are about 2m high; to the left of the main gateway is a side gate, with a Tudor-arched head, chamfered edges, and ledged door with strap hinges. The left wall extends about 1.5m before returning northwards for circa 220m, and then turning eastwards for another circa 300m. From the main gates, the right-hand wall extends approximately 50m to the corner of the site where it rounds the corner and continues for a further circa 50m. Beyond this, the boundary continues as a low wall with railings above, their plain circular profile curved outwards at the top. Toward the north-eastern corner of the site, the wall resumes its full height. Beyond the secondary entrance, a small section of the wall has been removed, but then continues northwards, stepping downwards to accommodate the slope of the site. The brick is laid in an irregular header and stretcher bond. To the interior, the walls include a high brick plinth, and have regularly-spaced brick buttresses with offsets and coped tops.

History

Cheltenham, and its suburb Charlton Kings, were expanding rapidly in the early years of the C19, and by the 1820s, the water supply was becoming inadequate. The response was the setting up of the Cheltenham Water Works Company, by Act of Parliament, in 1824. The company purchased a five-acre site set high on a hillside in Charlton Kings, off Hewlett’s Road (now Harp Hill), on which to build its new works. The site, which would collect water from the Northfield Springs on the surrounding hillsides, was selected as it was sufficiently high to allow the water supply to be fed to the town by gravity, rather than requiring pumping. The first underground reservoir on the site, with a capacity of 413,000 gallons, built in stone and designed by James Walker of Limehouse, was built in 1824, along with a custodian’s house, and supplied with a showy entrance with gates and gatepiers incorporating the Company’s crest. Water was carried through two miles of cast-iron pipes from the reservoir to the High Street in Cheltenham. The site was enlarged following a further Act of Parliament, and a second underground reservoir was added in 1839, also designed by James Walker; this brick-built reservoir was much larger than the first, with a capacity of 2 million gallons. Despite this, issues continued with the inconsistency of supply during the summer months, and in 1847, Henry Dangerfield, the County Surveyor, designed a new, open brick reservoir which covered three acres at Hewlett’s, holding 9 million gallons, which were drawn from more reliable springs further afield. Expansion of the complex, which was provided with a consistent boundary wall enclosing the entire site, was completed in 1857, with a still larger, fourth, open reservoir, this one with lobed brick walls.

The Hewlett’s Reservoir site remains in use, now storing water extracted from the River Severn at the Mythe Pumping Station at Tewkesbury though No.1 reservoir is now redundant. A concrete cover on piers was added to No.3 reservoir in 1966, after it was found that the pre-treated water it held was deteriorating in the open. No.4 reservoir was abandoned in 1965, and demolished in the 1990s. The custodian’s house was altered and extended in the later C20.

Reasons for Listing

The gates and piers, built in 1824, and the boundary walls (1824 and circa 1850) at Hewlett’s Reservoir, are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the gates and piers are elaborate, well-designed and survive well, and the brick boundary walls are well made and neatly bonded; their appearance belies their functional purpose and instead helps give the complex the appearance of a country house garden;

* Group value: the structures form part of a good group of buildings at this, the earliest surviving complex of covered reservoirs, which includes Reservoirs 1 and 2, and the pavilion, all listed at Grade II.

Selected Sources

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