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New Gauge House, the New River
north end of the New River, Lee Valley, Hertford, UK
New Gauge House, the New River
associated engineer
William Chadwell Mylne
date  1856
era  Victorian  |  category  Water Supply/Pipes  |  reference  TL338138
ICE reference number  HEW 277
photo  Jane Joyce
New Gauge House was constructed to house the current gauge that regulates the flow of water from the River Lee into the New River. This gauge replaced the 1770 Marble Gauge, which in turn replaced the original 17th century wooden device.
The New River was built between 1608-13 to bring drinking water to London by gravity from springs at Chadwell and Amwell in the Lee Valley. From 1700 onwards the supply was supplemented by water from the River Lee.
At first, the flow from the river was monitored by a wooden 'balance engine' a rocking beam-and-float device. It was later replaced with the Marble Gauge, built by Robert Mylne inside a Portland stone chest. Though now empty, this is still visible a little downstream.
The New River Company obtained an Act of Parliament in 1855 in which permission was granted to abstract up to 4.25 million litres per hour from the River Lee and New Gauge House was built right next to the river, completed in 1856. It is made of brick and has a hipped slate roof with a chimney at either end.
The gauge it houses consists of two rectangular pontoons connected by a wrought iron bowstring girder. A 2.39m wide metal sluice is suspended from the girder, spanning the channel. It rises and falls with the changes in level in the river, keeping a constant depth over the sill (0.41m).
The gauge maintains a steady water flow of 4.38kph and delivers 102 million litres per day into the New River. At the time, the New River ended in Islington but today flows into the Stoke Newington reservoir.
Research: ECPK
"Obituary: William Chadwell Mylne, F.R.S., 1781-1863", in ICE Proceedings, Vol.30, pp.448-451, London, January 1870
reference sources   CEH Lond

New Gauge House, the New River