Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Water Tower Project

One of my main projects at the moment which I have been doing for some years is raising awareness of the wonderful diversity of water towers in Britain.

In 2002 I hit upon the idea of writing 'A guide to the water towers of East Anglia'. This came about because I had been photographing them as landscape studies but I could not find any information about them. I eventually learned from a former water board employee how the archives of the once public water companies had been chucked in skips and that commercial sensitivity and security concerns prevented the release of further information. However, this did not make sense as most of the towers I was interested in were now redundant. Sensing a gap in a market, I spent far too much time on research and a great deal of my own money on travelling but I finally found a source of funds to pay for 2200 copies of the guide to be printed. By September 2005 it was ready and this handy leaflet was a best seller (except that I didn't sell it but gave it away). In a few short months, all the copies were taken from the museums and TICs I could get to in Suffolk and Norfolk. This leaflet led to my appearance on local TV and radio and BBC Radio 4 and eventually so many people contacted me about water towers who wanted to form a water tower society, we said we have to do it. So in May 2006 the British Water Tower Appreciation Society was formed. The initial membership was made up of myself, a group of artists living in the Wenhaston area who painted water towers and a campaigner to preserve public use of 'Jumbo' the magnificent water tower in Colchester to form the committee. BWTAS is independent, democratic and hopefully will live on well after I cease to be involved.

As of writing the membership stands over 90+ and it includes civil engineers, several water industry people, some historians, many artists and a wide mixture of water tower (WT) enthusisasts. BWTAS has staged several events and water tower tours and gathered a fair bit of media attention which I will find and post here soon. For now there is a very basic website.

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