Tower Hill Water Tower

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Tower Hill Water Tower
Water tower on Tower Hill, Ormskirk.JPG
The water tower in 2015
Tower Hill Water Tower is located in the Borough of West Lancashire
Tower Hill Water Tower
Location within the Borough of West Lancashire
General information
Type Water tower
Architectural style Romanesque Revival
Location Ormskirk, Lancashire
Country England
Coordinates 53°34′10″N 2°52′21″W / 53.56954°N 2.87242°W / 53.56954; -2.87242Coordinates: 53°34′10″N 2°52′21″W / 53.56954°N 2.87242°W / 53.56954; -2.87242
Construction started 1853
Completed 1854
Client Ormskirk Local Board of Health
Height 17 m (56 ft)
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official name Water tower on Tower Hill
Designated 22 March 1976
Reference no. 1197069[1]

Tower Hill Water Tower is a disused water tower and local landmark in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. Situated on the east side of Tower Hill, it was built between 1853-4 for Ormskirk Local Board of Health,[1] and is reputed to be the oldest remaining water tower in the country.[2] It was awarded Grade II* listed status in 1976,[1] and is on the Heritage at Risk Register.[3] The area immediately surrounding the tower has been used as allotments since the mid 20th century.[4]


The tower in 1987, before the water tank was removed.

The tower is built in the Romanesque Revival style, constructed of coursed, squared sandstone, and arranged in a square plan. On each side are two narrow full-height Romanesque arches, all with stepped surrounds and arch-bands, and linked by an impost band. Above the arches is a plain frieze with carved grotesques at the corners, topped with machicolated corbelling.[1][5] The stone is a pale red and mottled form of Ormskirk Sandstone, probably extracted from nearby Ruff Wood.[6]

In its present state, the tower stands at a height of approximately 17 metres (56 ft). Originally, the stonework was surmounted by a metal water tank with a pitched slate-covered roof, which added an extra 6.2 metres (20 ft) to the height of the structure. Due to its poor condition, the tank was removed in the early 1990s.[2]

Proposed developments[edit]

Planning permission was granted in 1988 for the conversion of the tower into a single dwelling, though the scheme was never implemented. Subsequent applications to convert the tower into offices or an apartment block were either refused or withdrawn.[2] A more recent application for conversion into seven apartments was made in 2004, though this has also been rejected,[2][7] and an appeal against the decision was dismissed in April 2008.[8]

Development of the site has met with opposition from local residents,[2][4] and local Conservative councillor Adrian Owens was amongst critics of the most recent application.[7][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Historic England. "Water Tower on Tower Hill (1197069)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Planning Permission Application No. 8/2004/1644 and Listed Building Consent Application No. 8/2004/1645". West Lancashire District Council. Retrieved 29 July 2008. [dead link]
  3. ^ Historic England. "Water Tower, Tower Hill, Ormskirk - West Lancashire". Heritage at Risk Register. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b James, Henry (30 January 2008). "Battle to save allotments". Champion. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Pollard, Richard; Pevsner, Nikolaus; Sharples, Joseph (2006). Lancashire: Liverpool and the Southwest. Yale University Press. p. 535. ISBN 0-300-10910-5. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  6. ^ English Heritage (December 2011). "Strategic Stone Study: A Building Stone Atlas of Lancashire" (PDF). British Geological Survey. p. 15. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Planning Rejection first step to a better heritage landmark". Adrian Owens. 29 July 2007. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  8. ^ "Ormskirk water tower plan appeal is rejected". Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Consign Water Tower Plan to Reject Bin". Adrian Owens. 27 February 2007. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 

External links[edit]