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Municipal Water Tower (Jumbo), BALKERNE PASSAGE

Grade II*. Water Tower. Dated 1882 and opened 1883. Charles Clegg C.E. Borough Surveyor and Engineer. Red Brick with iron water tank. Approx. 110 feet high in Romanesque Revival 'Campanile' style. Square plan. 4 corner piers with flared coursed bases and corner pilasters with coved capitals. Piers have flying buttresses and pipes to the inside. Connecting each pier is a tall rounded arch (approx. 70 feet high) with moulded architrave. Above these, a course of brackets link the pilaster capitals, above which a second course of brackets are directly below the cast iron water tank. Copper pyramid roof capped by lantern and weather vane. Decorative cast iron spiral stair in roof. Central service pier with flared coursed base. Arched entrance to service tower with deep moulded terra cotta surround. Above this, a terra cotta plaque that reads 'WATER TOWER 1882'. Small arched openings to each storey of core tower, blind to north and south and open to east and west. Stone dedication plaque reads 'BALKAN WATER TOWER This edifice was dedicated to the public use on the 27th date of September 1883'. HISTORY: The Balkerne Water Tower, commonly known as 'Jumbo,' was built on a site adjacent to the early-C19 reservoir. In 1882 the town waterworks were taken over by the Corporation who built the Water Tower that was opened in 1883. Construction required 1.25 million bricks and 142 tons of iron to support he tank that can hold 230,000 gallons of water. It was decommissioned in the 1980s and permission had been granted for a residential conversion scheme at the time of reassessment (2003). SOURCES: Crosby, Tony. The Public Water Supply in Essex 1850-1939. Essex County Council, 1999. A monumental water tower of 1883 in a Romanesque Revival style that references the Grade I Roman ruins at its feet. 1 photo. jA

[Postcards of 1904 (above) and 1906 (below) with kind permission of J Jephcott.]

See painting at http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/colchester-from-sheep…

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