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29 March 22

Affinity Water takes a tour of its architecturally protected Grade 2 listed water towers

In a new #podcast released this week Affinity Water goes on a tour of three fine examples of its water towers across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire which are now historic landmarks.

Steve Baker, a long serving employee of the Company, explains the role water towers play in ensuring high quality water is delivered to Affinity Water’s 3.6 million customers homes. The height of these magnificent Towers allows the distribution systems to feed into the network even if there is a power failure.

Bailey Hill (left), Hart Hill (right).

Steve’s tour starts at the Grade 2 listed Victorian Hart Hill brick Tower overlooking Luton, which was built in 1900 and is the oldest of Affinity Water’s Towers with a steep set of stairs situated inside leading right to the very top. He then drives across to Pirton Hill on the Hertfordshire Bedfordshire Border where this 1940s Tower is constructed of angle iron on stilts looking much like a pylon and has its ladder on the outside.

The third and final Tower of his visit is at Bailey Hill back across the other side of Luton. It is also Grade 2 Listed being built in 1901 but is now decommissioned and is a private home with panoramic views overlooking Luton. It still has a plaque on the outside saying: “Lee Valley Water Company, Bailey Hill Tower.”

Steve explains: “These water towers had great height over the whole Towns they straddle. The height allows the water to be pumped into the network supply even in a power outage. Pirton stands on Priors Hill and supplies a rural area and Hart Hill and Bailey Hill, stand on top of steep hills with stunning views over Luton. Local dignitaries often opened them.

“Hart Hill and Bailey Hill were built to supply water to Stopsley and Luton after the drought of 1898. Luton is a country town, and elements from the area are incorporated into these art and craft designs. If you look at the corners of the brick-built towers there are gargoyles on Bailey Hill and flowers on Hart Hill, and the large wooden doors are domed shaped like a Church. Both are built from Luton Bricks with stone dressings. They are magnificent.”

Affinity Water owned 60 Water Towers, 51 of which are still in service today. Of the in-service structures the total volume of water stored is 37,748 cubic meters. The water level in the tower falls during the peak usage hours of the day and fills back up during the night from local reservoirs and supplies.

The oldest in the Company’s supply area is Hart Lane and the most recent is Church Langley Water Tower at Harlow constructed in 1994 and is just a baby at 27yrs old!

As he tours the Towers Steve chats about Affinity Water’s campaign which in July and August 2021 saved over one billion litres of water, and which influenced 85 per cent of customers who had heard of the campaign to take some water saving action. “I’m very proud, we must do all we can to value and save water,” he said.

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