Reservoirs and Dams

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 PWR/4/2/1
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      126 sub-subseries (1526 items). .

Scope and Content

This subseries covers Peter Rowe's extensive consultancy work on reservoirs and dams (including lakes, water supplies, water treatment works, weirs and pumping stations) in Great Britain and Ireland. The vast majority of the files relate to projects in Britain, and these are arranged in alphabetical order of project name, from Abbotsley and Lutton Reservoir Sites (PWR/4/2/1/1) to Woodmancote Reservoir (PWR/4/2/1/119). These are followed by miscellaneous projects and projects in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic (PWR/4/2/1/120-126).

The evolution of a reservoir scheme involves many phases. These normally include: feasibility studies, selection of the site, public or Parliamentary inquiries, extensive site investigations and testing, tender submissions, appointment of contractors, site preparation and construction, and monitoring upon completion. Problems encountered during construction may require design modifications, additional site investigation and testing and, if necessary, remedial works.

Many of the reservoirs and dams were long-term projects and Peter Rowe advised on different aspects of investigation, design, construction, litigation and site monitoring over many years. The Reservoirs and Dams component of the archive contains Edgar Morton and Partner (EMP) material, since Rowe worked with them on a wide variety of projects and works.

Several of the reservoir schemes and projects Rowe advised on were not actually built. After extensive site investigation, monitoring and testing, they were found to be technically or economically unfeasible, even when alternative sites had been proposed and subjected to similar investigation. The reservoirs which were constructed mostly came under local authority and water board control and were subject to Reservoirs Safety Act compliance and other criteria.

Peter Rowe worked on a large number of reservoir and dam projects, problems and proposals. In some cases reservoirs and dams would be grouped together as part of a larger scheme, for example encompassing drainage, river development, abstraction, canals and flood alleviation, and covering a large geographical area. Examples of such schemes in the archive are: the River Severn Scheme, the River Medway Scheme, the River Colne Scheme, the Alton Reservoir Scheme, and the former seven Rochdale Canal Company Reservoirs group, comprising Blackstone Edge, Chelburn (Upper and Lower), Hollingworth, Light Hazzles, Ramsden Clough, Warland and White Holme reservoirs, these being mostly old nineteenth-century Pennine dams.

The bulk of the papers consists of correspondence, files, plans, reports and extensive test data both from the field and from the laboratory. Some projects cross-refer to other schemes within this subseries, and information on reservoirs, dams and river schemes can also be found in the Other British Construction Projects subseries (PWR/4/2/7). All graphs and plottings are termed 'graphs' in the catalogue descriptions.