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Garthamlock and Craigend Water Towers

A Category B Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8733 / 55°52'23"N

Longitude: -4.1535 / 4°9'12"W

OS Eastings: 265354

OS Northings: 666553

OS Grid: NS653665

Mapcode National: GBR 3W.2YR5

Mapcode Global: WH4Q8.5MCV

Entry Name: Garthamlock and Craigend Water Towers

Listing Date: 9 October 2013

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 401816

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52097

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: North East

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

Two large, circular-plan, reinforced-concrete water towers of similar design but contrasting height. Prominently located, adjacent to one another, on high ground in a suburban housing setting to the east side of Glasgow.

GARTHAMLOCK WATER TOWER: design by Frank A Macdonald and Partners for Glasgow Corporation, 1953-56. Built by Holst and Company Ltd, 1956-58. 24 laterally unsupported cylindrical columns, 100ft in height. 23ft cylindrical tank with 7 equally spaced band courses. 1 million gallon capacity. Hexagonal-plan central access column with moulded margins to openings (currently infilled, 2012). Metal door to ground and internal metal stairs rising to roof-top.

CRAIGEND WATER TOWER: Lower Clyde Water Board, c.1966. 12 fin-like supporting columns 40ft in height and tapering toward ground. Cylindrical tank with 4 equally spaced band courses; regularly disposed rectangular insets to lower course. Panelled, dodecagonal (12-sided) central column. Metal access door to ground; internal stair rising to roof-top.

Statement of Interest

The Garthamlock and Craigend water towers are key examples from the unrivalled programme of reinforced concrete water tower construction in Glasgow and its environs during the 1950s and 60s. The size, design and engineering interest of these two towers reflect the wider aspirations of the post-war building period in Scotland.

The Garthamlock tower has the largest capacity tank in the UK, designed to hold one million gallons of water. The narrow unsupported cylindrical columns are 100ft high, which is exceptional for its date. It is the tallest water tower in Scotland. Visible from the M8 and numerous vantage points across the east side of the city, it and Craigend are one of Glasgow's most conspicuous landmarks of the post-war building period.

The two reinforced concrete towers share a site on high ground within a suburban housing setting. The suburban housing context of the two towers is appropriate and helps illustrate their purpose within the urban landscape, and their place within Glasgow's massive suburban post-war expansion. They are part of the change from pre-war tenement living to the new suburbs, and the infrastructure needed to accommodate the change.

The need to build on high ground (using gravity to increase tap pressure to homes) and awareness that the towers would be a landmark resulted in functional designs that were also futuristic and aspirational. The designs of the towers embrace the engineering possibilities of the period and the idealism of much early post-war architecture. The narrow unsupported cylindrical columns of the Garthamlock tower feature mushrooming heads, while the Craigend tank has tapering, fin-like columns. The similarities and variations, both in scale and detail, add to their combined group interest.

F A MacDonald and Partners (Est. 1902) were among the most accomplished and innovative engineering firms working in Scotland throughout the 20th century. They provided many major infrastructure projects including bridges, hydro schemes, motorways, housing schemes including nurmerous works for the Glasgow Corporation. Holst & Company were founded in London in 1918 by Danish Civil Engineer, Knud Holst and Christian Lunoe. The company specialised in the design and construction of structural reinforced concrete across the UK.

The water level of the Garthamlock tower at its highest point is 486ft above sea-level with a water depth of nearly 23ft. Water is sourced from Loch Katrine. Telecommunications and CCTV equipment is well-established on top of the Garthamlock tower.

Other water towers in Scotland include: one of the earliest cast-iron water tanks in the world (1832, Perth); the earliest surviving municipal water tower in the UK (1841, Montrose); and the earliest known reinforced-concrete water tower in the UK (1899, Garmouth) - see separate listings.

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