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Rivington Reservoirs (main scheme)
Rivington, Lancashire, UK
associated engineer
Thomas Hawksley
John Frederick La Trobe Bateman
date  1850 - 1857
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Dam/Reservoir  |  reference  SD630124
ICE reference number  HEW 2043
The group of seven Rivington Reservoirs lies along three shallow valleys between Bolton and Preston. They supply Liverpool with filtered water. Rivington was one of the first reservoir groups to filter all its supply.
Three principal reservoirs form the nucleus of the scheme. They are Anglezarke, Upper Rivington and Lower Rivington. They appear to be a 6km chain of reservoirs in one valley, though they actually straddle three valleys. They are Hawksley's first impounding reservoir designs and are fairly shallow, bound by seven embankments that total 3km in length. The combined high-water area is 188 hectares and total volume 12.7 million litres.
The three reservoirs were constructed in 1850-57 for the Liverpool Corporation. Because the scheme was to bring water from near Rivington Pike, its supporters became known as ‘The Pike-ists’.
Anglezarke Reservoir has an average depth of only 5.8m. Its embankments are: Heapey Embankment (85.3m long, 9.75m high), Charnock Embankment (777m long, 9.45m high) and Knowsley Embankment (219.5m long, 14m high). The reservoir sill level is 13m higher than its upper and lower sisters. It is principally feed by the River Yarrow, which originally ran through the gap now filled by the Knowsley Embankment. There is an impressive 27m overflow cascade into Alglezarke.
Two other reservoirs — Lower Roddlesworth and Rake Brook, both of which are to the north near Blackburn on a tributory of the River Darwen — were built concurrently with the Hawksley three. They supply Anglezarke via a 6.4km conduit called 'The Goit'.
Upper and Lower Rivington Reservoirs effectively are one, despite the 267m long Horrobin Embankment that separates them. The upper reservoir has one other dam: Yarrow Embankment (332m long, 12.2m high). The lower has two: Millstone Embankment (646m long, 12.2m high) and Horwich Embankment (506m long, 18.6m high). The River Douglas was diverted into Lower Rivington along a paved channel in a deep cutting.
The complex includes two further reservoirs. The small High Bullough Reservoir, built by John Frederic Bateman for Chorley Waterworks Company, is next to Anglezarke and in fact just pre-dates it. High Bullogh was taken over by the Liverpool Corporation in 1856, who then took responsibility for Chorley's water supply.
Also very close by is the later Yarrow Reservoir, begun in 1867 and designed by Thomas Duncan, Liverpool's then Borough Engineer.
The filter beds were set up at the foot of the Horwich Embankment, from where a single pipeline runs 27.35km to the service reservoirs at Prescot, outside Liverpool. The original sand filters were later replaced by a covered multi-stage treatment plant.
Research: PD
"Victorian Water Engineers" by G.M. Binnie
Thomas Telford, London, 1981
"Reservoirs from Rivington to Rossendale" by N. Hoyle
North West Water Authority, Warrington, 1987
reference sources   CEH North

Rivington Reservoirs (main scheme)