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Waulkmill Glen Reservoir Including Draw-Off Tower, Self-Activating Sluice and Regulating House

A Category A Listed Building in Neilston, East Renfrewshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.7916 / 55°47'29"N

Longitude: -4.3578 / 4°21'28"W

OS Eastings: 252265

OS Northings: 657881

OS Grid: NS522578

Mapcode National: GBR 3N.80FZ

Mapcode Global: WH3PF.1P3G

Entry Name: Waulkmill Glen Reservoir Including Draw-Off Tower, Self-Activating Sluice and Regulating House

Listing Date: 5 November 2008

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400046

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51186

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Neilston

County: East Renfrewshire

Electoral Ward: Newton Mearns North and Neilston

Parish: Neilston

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

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Description

William Gale engineer, circa 1847-8. Irregular-shaped reservoir with earth embankment, Italianate masonry draw-off tower connected to embankment by footbridge, fine arcaded masonry frontage to sluice house set into embankment, and octagonal regulating house.

EMBANKMENT: roughly L-plan main embankment dam to NE 200 yards long, 60 ft high and 12ft wide at top with pitched earth walls strengthened with stone and sealed with puddle clay; 1 in 3 slope to front, 1 in 2 slope to rear.

BYEWASH AND TRACK BRIDGE: concrete-lined lower section within main embankment, providing overflow from reservoir. Plain girder track bridge with central bull-faced masonry pier and 21st century replica GCWW cast-iron railings with flower detail.

DRAW-OFF TOWER AND FOOTBRIDGE: octagonal bull-faced masonry sub-structure with long slit openings carrying Italianate sandstone ashlar valve house with round-arched windows to each elevation divided by plain pilasters; shallow octagonal piended roof with stone slates and cast-iron finial. Rectangular-headed doorway to NNW elevation with deep corbel below supporting later iron footbridge.

SELF-ACTIVATING SLUICE HOUSE AND REGULATING BASINS: set into land-side of embankment, immediately to N of valve tower. 3-arch arcaded frontage with flanking piers. Rusticated red sandstone ashlar with pronounced quirky vermiculation. Plain polished ashlar cornice; parapet. Iron gates to arches. 2 rectangular- plan regulating basins immediately to N with 20th century covers.

INTERIOR: triple vault supported by central buttress and 2 cast-iron columns.

REGULATING HOUSE: single-storey, octagonal-plan building with round-arched doorway and stone-mullioned tripartite windows. Rusticated sandstone ashlar with pronounced quirky vermiculation and polished ashlar dressings. Base course; eaves band; projecting stone eaves. Entrance with roll-moulded margin and pronounced voussiors; tripartite windows with projecting cills to alternate elevations. Shallow piended roof with squat stone finial.

Statement of Interest

The reservoir straddles the boundaries of Eastwood, Mearns and Neilston Parishes.

Waulkmill Glen reservoir was the largest of the 3 reservoirs built as part of the first phase of the Gorbals Gravitation Water Company's water supply scheme, constructed in 1847-8. This was one of the first large-scale water supply schemes in Scotland and, although eclipsed by the slightly later scheme from Loch Katrine, is nevertheless of considerable historical and engineering interest. The draw-off tower is quite possibly the earliest such structure in Scotland. The self-activating sluice is also of considerable interest, though it is unclear whether any of the machinery remains intact (there is nothing visible within the arched structure).

Waulkmill Glen reservoir covers an area of nearly 48 acres and has a capacity of roughly 36.5 million cubic feet. Water originally fed into the reservoir from the Brock Burn, but this arrangement was altered with the building of the Balgray reservoir (as part of the expansion of the scheme) in 1853. Water is drawn out of the reservoir through the draw-off tower, and passed through the self-activating sluice (located on the other side of the embankment dam) before discharging into the two regulating basins. From there it flowed through pipes to the low filters, which were demolished 2007-8, but were located roughly 300 yards to the NE.

The Gorbals Gravitation Water Company was originally a private firm established to supply water to the Gorbals, the inhabitants of which were keen to establish their own water supply as water provision in the area was poor, relying largely on wells. The Brockburn was identified as a good potential source, and after a certain amount of opposition an Act of Parliament was passed in 1846 allowing this. The first phase of the scheme (which was always intended for expansion) comprised Waulkmill Glen, Ryatt Linn and Littleton reservoirs and associated filters and supplied water to the Gorbals, Pollokshaws and Govan. It was built 1847-8 by the engineer William Gale, elder brother of James M Gale who worked on the Loch Katrine scheme. The construction of the scheme was a considerable engineering achievement and the cast-iron pipes used to carry the water from the reservoirs to the filters and thence into the city were made using newly-developed vertical casting technologies.

In 1853 a further Act of Parliament was passed to allow the expansion of the scheme with the construction of Balgray reservoir. This more than doubled the capacity of the scheme and enabled it to supply Rutherglen, Nitshill, Hurlet, Barrhead, Renfrew and surrounding areas, in addition to the places mentioned above. In 1855 the company was bought out by Glasgow Corporation Waterworks, and therefore became publically-owned.

Listed as part of the thematic review of the Glasgow water supply system.

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