OLD PLYMOUTH . UK
www.oldplymouth.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 02, 2018
Webpage updated: August 02, 2018

        

WATER SAFE TO DRINK  |  PLYMOUTH LEAT (DRAKE'S LEAT)

DRAKE'S PLACE RESERVOIRS

Drake's Place Reservoir with the Tavistock Road.

The 1891 reconstructed Drake's Place Reservoir
showing the colonnade, with the Tavistock Road.
From a postcard.

The southern of the two reservoirs at Drake's Place was constructed in 1823 during the mayoralty of Mr Edmund Lockyer.  Five years later, in 1828, the northern one was built, the Mayor at that time being Mr Richard Pridham.   In between, in 1825, a further small reservoir had been constructed at No Place Lane, now known as North Road.

Drake's Place Reservoir with Sherwell Congregational Chapel and the houses of Queen Anne Terrace..

Drake's Place Reservoir, with Sherwell Congregational
Chapel and the houses of Queen Anne Terrace.
From a postcard.

A water conduit that had stood at the head of Old Town Street until 1834 was built in to the side of the Drake's Place Reservoirs in 1874.

In the autumn of 1890 work started on the reconstruction and enlargement of the Drake's Place Reservoirs.  The two old reservoirs, dating from 1823 and 1828, had served about a half of the Town but they had been constructed with sloping banks of stones set on edge in clay and leaked badly.   When the lease expired on the Drake's Place Mill, below the Reservoirs, the opportunity was taken to demolish it and incorporate the site into an extended Reservoir and new pleasure gardens.

And so it was that in 1890 Messrs Shaddock Brothers commenced work on rebuilding the Reservoirs and making them in to one, albeit with a concrete wall between them so that one half could be shut off for maintenance work to be done while the other half was still supplying water.  The new Drake's Place Reservoir could hold 3,600,000 gallons of water compared to 1,200,000 in the old ones.  The walls were upright and build of limestone bedded in Portland cement backed with about 14 inches of well puddled clay.  The coping was of granite.  Thus there was practically no leakage at all -- it was claimed.

In addition, a colonnade of 200 feet in length by 9 feet was constructed and a terrace measuring 250 feet by 33 feet was built on top so that people could sit and relax by the water and enjoy the new fountains.  The Dartmoor granite pillars of the colonnade have a history.   They originally formed part of the Shambles outside Saint Andrew's Church.   When this was removed in about 1791 the pillars were re-used in the Market, where they remained until 1890 when Market Avenue was cut through the Market.

The whole reconstruction was designed by Mr G D Bellamy, the Borough Surveyor, while the clerk of works was Mr G H Goodyear.  A cottage for a caretaker was erected at the same time.  The Reservoir was opened by the Mayor, Mr J T Bond, in a small ceremony on Wednesday July 22nd 1891 on his way to the Head Weir to take part in the "Fyshinge Feast".