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Killington Reservoir
east of M6, near Kendal, Cumbria, UK
Killington Reservoir
associated engineer
William Crosley Jnr
date  1818 - 1819
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Dam/Reservoir  |  reference  SD591911
ICE reference number  HEW 2049
photo  donation
Killington Reservoir is the main source of water for the Lancaster Canal. Two earth dams impound the water and the reservoir holds 3,236 million litres and has a surface area of 58 hectares when full.
William Crosley had done surveying work for the Lancaster Canal's engineer, John Rennie, at several periods in his career. It was through Rennie that he was able to take up the superintendecy of the Hincaster to Kendal section of the canal in May 1817.
Killington Reservoir was Crosley's work too — he was appointed engineer for it on 10th May 1817 with James Briggs as superintendent. The construction contract was awarded to Millington, Bainbridge & Kelly but an error in their tender resulted in William Seed's appointment instead.
The two dams have clay cores. The main dam (SD589907 to SD592908) is some 253m long and 15.8m high. The subsidiary western dam (SD585905 to SD586904) is some 110m long and only 3m high.
The top water level of the reservoir is 200.55m above Ordnance Datum and the original overflow spillway had a crest length of 4.9m. The reservoir supplied 22.7 million litres of water a day to the canal.
The main dam has been raised in height twice since its construction. The issue first came up in 1819 but William Seed’s estimate for the work was not accepted. Crosley reported leaks in 1822, and in 1825 Thomas Telford was approached for an opinion but did not reply, so a report was obtained from William Chapman. The western dam was breached in 1830s during a storm.
Modifications were made to the overflow arrangements in 1853 — when a new 14.5m long overflow was added — and in 1930, when an 460mm siphon was built. A wave wall was added to the main dam after 1975.
Killington Reservoir is easily viewed from the northern end of the car park at the nearby M6 services (southbound).
Resident engineer: James Briggs
Main conractor: William Seed
research: PD
reference sources   CEH NorthBDCE

Killington Reservoir