Langdon Hills Water Tower

The map clearly shows the position of the current Water Tower and where the earlier one was.
Photograph of the current water tower - December 2019 - Ken Porter

Though not a very attractive one but nevertheless a land mark,  is the Langdon Hills Water Tower that stands on the summit close to the Thurrock border on the east side of the High Road in its own plot between the residential properties Green Pastures and Trevelyn.
It appears to have been built in 1933, possibly following a public enquiry held at the Church Institute on Tuesday 17 November 1931 where by the clerk A E Poole of the Orsett Rural Council said that a new tower was necessitated by the rapid increase in population since the war. The extra burden of the scheme on the parish would be £387 per annum.
The tower was built by F.R.Hipperson & Son, public works contractors, for South Essex Waterworks Company. The white, eight sided, windowless tower stands around 50ft tall.  Above the main tower sits a smaller six sided crown with mast. The crown has windows and doorway and a raised square enclosed platform area from where a number of communication aerials are affixed. It was renovated in 1956 at a cost of nearly £3000 and serving up to 2,250 locals with a daily consumption of around 50,000 gallons rising to between 60,000 and 70,000 during peak months. In 1970 the water company merged with Southend Waterworks Company to form Essex Water Company who in turn merged with Suffolk Water Company in 1994 to form Essex and Suffolk Water, who currently own and maintain it.
The public enquiry stated that a new tower was required, this begs the question ‘was there a previous one and when was it built?’  A report in the local Grays & Tilbury Gazette and Southend Telegraph in July 1906 a scheme was suggested by the District Council that water be taken from the station of the Southend Water Company at Fobbing by a 4in main laid along Dry Street to the top of the hill at a point near the Crown Inn and delivered into a Water Tower with a suggested storage capacity of 12,500 gallons, for distribution to such part of the parish as may be selected.
Well, very little progress seemed to have been made because we find that the water problem at Langdon Hills raised its head again in February 1908, reported this time by the Essex Newsman. Though it indicated a considerable amount of survey work had been carried out in the area,  it would appear that this initial Water tower did not appear until after 1910.
The map clearly shows the position of where the first tower was built in the early 1910s, north of Dry Street behind the Crown Hotel.

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  • I can remember a local resident Eric Hand talking about his experience during WWII, he was either in the Home Guard or was an Air Raid Warden. I cannot recall the exact story but do recall that he and colleagues were at the top of the water tower in Langdon Hills and one of ther group had to go back down to fetch something, because it was a bit of a tricky decent nobody was keen to go.
    I guess that they must have had a fantastic view of the surrounding area from the tower, possibly better than today because some of the trees around the ridge especially those that grow on the north side of the old cricket ground would not have been there at that time.

    By Colin Humphrey (09/02/2020)

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