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Water History of Derbyshire


from Council Water Departments, South Derbyshire Water Board through to Severn Trent
photo of Little Eaton Water Treatment Works about 1870

The First Piped Water in Derby

1692 The First Piped Water in Derby

(information from Paul Sharratt and Alan Gifford)

George Sorocold is accredited with being responsible for providing the first water supply in Derby. Work was started in 1692 and water was extracted from the Mill Fleam of the River Derwent at the bottom of St. Michael's Lane by means of a water wheel driven pump. The water was pumped to St Michael's Church to a tank, possibly situated in the tower or roof. From there it feed a network of about 4 miles of Elm pipes. I assume that there was no treatment of the water! Many of the dwellings and businesses in Derby were situated around court yards and I assume that water was probably supplied to a communal tap rather than to individual premises.

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Derby Corporation Water Department

Derby Corporation took over the The Derby Water Company which was situated at 13 The Strand, Derby. The Derby Corporation Water Department existed from ? until 1961, when it was taken over by the South Derbyshire water Board. The Royal Oak pub shown below on Tenant Street became the Water Department's Office. There was also a Depot at Duke Street. I'm not sure when The Royal Oak was taken over by the Council, but likely to be pre-war. The building shown below is not the original building but was rebuilt early in the 20th century. The original pub might have been called 'The Oak'.

image showing Tenant Street offices

Tenant Street HQ

The following had been working in the 1940s at an office at Full Street:

  • Mr. T. Farrington - Engineer and Manager
  • Richard H. Appleby (Dick)
  • Gordon Ingram
  • Norman Bennett
  • Bernard R. P. Francis

The Tenant Street offices became available after the Town Clerk’s Department moved to the newly completed Council House in Corporation Street in the late 1940s.

Besides the above, below is a snapshot of the people who worked at the Water Department in the 1950s.

  • I G Edwards (Engineer and General Manager)
  • Dick Appleby (Deputy Engineer and Manager)
  • Walter Fletcher (Chief Clerk)
  • TYPISTS
    • Lucy Moore (Senior Shorthand Typist)
    • Audrey Stafford
    • Valerie Halliwell
    • Marie Ashton (Shorthand typist)
    • Sheila Tickner (Shorthand typist) - FROM 1960s
    • Norma Consterdine (Shorthand Typist)
  • ACCOUNTS
    • Stanley Elliott (died 1964) replaced by --
    • Eric Bamford
      • Norman Bennett
      • Hazel Bruce-Ewen
      • Jean Stapleton (Accounts Office)
      • Ann Bellamy
  • DISTRIBUTION
    • Denzil Phillips (Distribution)
      • George Parkin
      • Dave Mabbott
      • Alex Micalef
      • George Parkin
  • GENERAL OFFICE
    • Gregory Kilvington
    • Gordon Ingram
    • Bernard Francis
    • Alan Talbot (Office boy in the General Office) - died of a brain tumour
    • Frank Pemberton (Office Boy)(his dad was an Inspector)
    • Paul Tonks (office boy)
    • Barry Jepson
    • Valerie Halliwell (General Office)
    • Miss Audrey Stafford (General Office)
    • Mike Wilson - later moved to Derby Corporation as Cashier.
    • Alan Naylor
  • ENGINEERS - (later at King Street)
    • Ray Fuller
    • Don Higgerson (Building Maintenance Manager)
    • Kenneth Galley - Engineers Section
    • Dickie Bird
    • Derek Jeram
    • David Eaton (Trainee Engineer)
  • INSPECTORS
    • George Birch
    • Archie Orme
    • Jack Hall
    • Fred Barlow - Water Inspector
    • Cyril Braithwaite - Water Inspector
    • Harry Pemberton (became Storeman at Raynesway - STW)
  • OTHERS
    • Jack Allison (Turncock)
    • ? Errington (Waterman)
    • ? Phelphs (workman)
    • Mrs Fairburn - Caretaker who had a flat above the Bicycle shop (5a Tenant Street).

At Little Eaton Pumping Station

  • Mr. Hugh Richardson (Manager)

At Duke Street Depot

  • George W Smith - Manager
  • William Potter (Bill) Deputy manager

MEMORIES of R H Appleby (Dick)

Of the DERBY CORPORATION WATER DEPARTMENT and the SOUTH DERBYSHIRE WATER BOARD

From Mick Appleby, his son


Dick Appleby was born in 1913 and I think he started work at Derby Water Board straight after he matriculated from Derby Central School – 1929? He probably started as an assistant clerk. He was trained on the job as a water engineer and would have gone to Derby Technical College, Normanton Rd.
In 1939 he married Joan Taylor and they bought a house in Melton Ave, Littleover. Just before the war he started a part-time BSc degree course in Civil Engineering, an external London University course, for which he studied three evenings a week at the Tech. This was very hard work after a day at the office.
The war intervened and it was another 10 years before he eventually graduated. Despite being in a “starred occupation”, protected from war service, he volunteered in 1942/3 for the Royal Engineers, much to my mother’s disgust, as she was left, pregnant with me, on her own.
In 1943 he took ship, he didn’t know where, and ended up in Italy as a 2nd Lieutenant, at Trieste, charged with rebuilding the railway system and building Bailey bridges. Dick later became Captain and ended the war as Acting Major. He didn’t return until 1946, so I didn’t see my father until I was 2 ½ years old. He was very tall – 6ft 3 ½ ins – and for the rest of his life he carried something of a military bearing. The army was a profound influence on him and from then on, travel and Italian culture were precious to him.
After the war, he returned to his old job. I remember him being called out to burst water mains and sometimes accompanied him. When he got on site, people almost sprang to attention and were most respectful – he was the Deputy Water Engineer and they were labourers. It was clear that the Turncock was in charge of the operation; he was a form of demi-god who had the power to turn off the water!
You looked down, what seemed to me as a boy, enormous holes, very muddy, where lay a huge pipe. The labourers, many dressed as they pleased with old trousers tied below the knee with string, like navvies – that’s what they were called – always did. Their coats and shirts were smeared with mud, but they always seemed cheerful and were pleased to see the “boss’s son”. Maybe it was the overtime pay!
He also took me to Little Eaton Waterworks of which he was very proud (maybe he was part of the build/design team?) The man in charge was immensely proud of the machinery which was highly polished (brass/copper?) and immaculately painted. I suppose it was some form of beam engine.
Every day at home the levels were solemnly read out to him - presumably the amount of water in the various reservoirs. I often took down the levels for him. He very rarely reacted to them, but they were clearly of huge importance – a quasi-religious ceremony every day!
We had a telephone put in for this purpose and were one of the first in Melton Ave. to have one. It was quite a status symbol. When our next-door neighbours wanted a phone, my father refused to let them share the line, as was common in those days, as he was often dealing with urgent calls. (On a shared line you couldn’t use the line if others were using it and if you picked your receiver up, you could hear the neighbours’ phone calls).
I often visited his office in Tenant St. when he was Deputy Water Engineer. You went up dark, narrow stairs and turned right into this huge airy, light office. His desk was huge. Opposite, on the Full St. side, was a great big table covered with large-scale maps showing every water main in Derby. (As you walked around with him, Dick knew exactly what was under the ground you walked on). Weighing down the maps was a WW2 hand-grenade (probably a practice one) which had been found by some of the labourers. There was another large table on the Market Place side.
He sat at his desk always wearing a double-breasted suit with turn-ups, and Veldtschoen shoes. He only ever had two suits – work and “best”. He bought a new, good quality suit from the Co-op every few years and wore it every day, and also a light beige/grey waterproof gabardine mac. He was never without a tie. For his walking and bird-watching activities he would wear a black beret, khaki pull-on anorak or Arran – type sweater.
When I was little, Dad would come home for his lunch every day on the “Workmen’s Bus” to Littleover, and I would often run up Melton Avenue to meet him striding along - tall, handsome and straight-backed. He probably had 1 ½ hours for lunch. His dinner had to be ready for him. He ate it quickly, then sat in his armchair by the radio and often dozed off. Then he got the bus back again. There must have been a fleet of men who got on this bus; people didn’t seem to eat at work or in town.
The Water Engineer, Mr Edwards, was an august figure, hugely respected – a man of enormous power. I never saw him at work. I only came across him before Christmas after the annual works’ “booze-up”. Goodness knows how much he’d drunk, but I well remember my dad coming into the house late-ish at night and asking me to get my coat on. I must have been about 8 or 9. There was a car outside and Dad asked me to sit in the back and keep an eye on Mr Edwards, who was completely and almost insensibly drunk. Dad had the job of getting him home to his big house at the top of Stenson Rd. On another occasion Mr Edwards was in the front and he turned round to look at me but could hardly talk. Presumably people must have plied him with drink and my father thought that he would behave himself if he saw a boy in the car!
Of his colleagues, some names spring to mind: Walter Fletcher; “Dickie” Bird, a young engineer – a nice man who was a good cricketer; Ken Woodall, another cricketer, who latterly became Treasurer? (an accountant today). Many Water Board people were members of the Municipal Officers Cricket Team, made up of council employees. Dad was Captain for several years, Ken Woodall followed. I later played for them after years watching as a boy.
The Water Board later moved to Raynesway, which regretfully, I never saw. Dad was never very impressed with the new computers of the ‘60s which he regarded as labour-intensive. He had something to do with Carsington Reservoir, about which he had mixed feelings, owing perhaps to the loss of wildlife habitat. Dick was instrumental in setting up Derbyshire Naturalists’ Trust (later Derbyshire Wildlife Trust), was a keen bird-watcher and regularly gave talks on ornithology and wild flowers.
In his later years he had little to do with engineering, but took on a Personnel function. He was able to hire people and it was perhaps no coincidence that many people that gained employment were keen bird-watchers or cricketers!
Dick was a lifelong Socialist and a man of many interests. As a school governor for many years he took a keen interest in education; he loved classical music, literature and read a wide range of books.
I get the impression that at work he may have sometimes had a sharp tongue or at least a very forthright manner. However he had a great sense of humour and was a very generous, public-spirited man with excellent people- skills – provided they went along with his philosophy!
He retired a little early at the age of 62, presumably when Severn Trent took over. On his retirement he threw himself into the work of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, of which he was the Chairman, and worked at it pretty much full time until, eventually, the onset

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MEMORIES OF DUKE STREET AND TENANT STREET

from John Orme - son of Archie Orme - ( Plumbing Inspector and Superintendant)

Hello John

I came across your website re DCWW/SDWB/ST whilst searching for any info on George Sorocold who effectively first delivered a piped water system into Derby in the 1700's.

I first heard of George when I was taken by my dad to a lecture in about 1947 - I think it was to mark the official opening of Ladybower reservoir - held in the first floor hall of the former East Midlands Electricity's office/showroom in Irongate (next to Bennett's, I think).

There are a few people missing from the DCWW/SDWB listings, and similarly some facts which you're perhaps not aware of.

For example two water inspectors missing from the list are Fred Barlow and Cyril Braithwaite.

Fred and my father, close friends, were initially employed in the late '40s by DCWW as plumbers and worked from DCWW's Duke Street depot in a workshop just inside the gate nearer to the Furnace Inn. If Archie was working late at the depot I or my sister had to take his packed meal to him. Not sure about Cyril's pedigree - I only knew him in his time as inspector. Later Fred and my father became water Inspectors. Later still - after Superintendent Inspector George Birch's retirement my father was made Superintendent, but Jack Hall features somewhere in that story, I think. Sadly, Jack died by his own hand not long after the death of his wife.

My dad was Archie Orme. In his time he became, among other things, President of the Derby branch of the PTU (Plumbing Trades Union) and it was sometimes my job, when he couldn't attend a meeting, to take in his and other DCWW employee PTU members' contributions to the Branch Meetings, held in Charnwood Street. Later the PTU combined wit the Electricians Trade Union to become the EPTU and later still the EEPTU when the Electronics Trades Union combined with it.

The Inspector's office was at the top of the flight of stairs, over the kitchen as shown on your plan. However the Superintendent Inspector's office was next to it, over the archway which gave access to Tenant Street, and accessed through a lobby within the Inspectors' office immediately at the top of the stairs on the outside of the building. Each office had coal fires for heating. I remember the office cleaner was a Mrs Orme (no relation as far as I know, but always referred to as Mrs Orme by Archie, so I can't tell you her first name).

The bike shed you show was used to house the Archie and Fred's motor bikes, first two BSA Bantams, later replaced by BSA 250cc C10's (I think) and later still added to with a Triumph Tiger Cub which as I recollect was ridden by Jack Hall. Somehow I think Norman Bennett had something to do with the Tiger Cub selection. He was a close friend of Archie, both of them sharing a love of motorbikes. Norman was a triumph fan, owning a Bonneville which was top of the range at that time.

I still have Archie's SDWB identity badge complete with his photo on it, and a hat badge from his days with Derby Corporation.

Kind regards

John Orme

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South Derbyshire Water Board 1961 - 1974

image of the SDWB  Crest

(written by John Simpson with help from Russ Boyack, Melvyn Colclough, John Nation, John King, Jeff Richardson and Brian Bowker)

Was formed in 1961 from the various former Urban and Rural District Water Departments in Southern Derbyshire. (Ref. South Derbyshire Water Board Bill House of Commons debates, 8 April 1959). SDWB ceased to exist when it's functions were taken over by Severn Trent Water Authority on the 1st April 1974.

The South Derbyshire Water Board was founded on April 1st 1961 with the transfer of Ilkeston & Heanor WB and 13 other constituent authorities. (water departments of local Councils - some listed below:

  • Long Eaton Urban District Water Department
  • Ilkeston and Heanor Water Board
  • South East Derbyshire Rural Water.
  • Derby Corporation Water Department
  • Ashbourne RDC
  • Matlock UDC
  • Alfreton UDC
  • Ripley UDC
  • Heanor UDC
  • Belper UDC and RDC.
  • Others?

With the expansion of the organization in April 1961 to become the South Derbyshire Water Board additional staff were appointed:

Tenant Street

  • CHIEF CLERK
    • Howard Bradshaw (from Derby Corporation) eventually became Chief Clerk after Walter Fletcher retired
    • Gordon Bennett came to deal with legal matters (Clerk to the Water Board)
  • ACCOUNTS
    • Ken Woodall from Derby Corporation Treasurer’s Dept. – Treasurer
      • Brian Williamson from Derby Corporation Treasurer’s to be Mr. Woodall’s assistant
      • Michael Hope - Mr. Woodall’s Trainee
      • Keith? Jepson - Accounts Office
  • DISTRIBUTION AND SUPPLY
    • Ken Rodwell from Leicester City Waterworks – Head of Distribution
      • Edward Dodd (Ted) to be Mr. Rodwell’s Deputy
      • William Webley (Bill) Manager of Distribution after George Parkin retired
      • Edward? Howarth to become Chemist
        • followed in 1964? By Miss Joan Duggan
  • GENERAL OFFICE
    • Hugh Tapping came from the Borough Treasurer’s to the General Office
    • Miss Sybil ? took up the position of telephonist
  • ENGINERRING
    • Ray Fuller from ? to Head Engineering Department in Offices at King Street (nr Flower Pot PH)

From Shardlow Rural District Council Water Department

  • Dennis Jowett - became Manager at Ilkeston Depot
  • Cess Woodward

From Ilkeston and Heanor Water Board

  • Mr Stuart? (Manager at Ripley Depot)
  • Sydney Hallam (becomes Mains Superintendant Ilkeston Depot)

In the late 1960s

  • Mick Coxon transferred from the Borough Surveyor’s Office to become Committee Clerk to the Water Board in succession to Gordon Bennett.
  • Miss Joan Duggan became the Chemist based at Little Eaton after Mr. Howarth moved on.
  • Miss Pat Flood (Shorthand Typist)
    • replaced later by Sheila O'Mahoney who became I G Edwards' secretary
  • Sheila Allen (Reprographics - Plan copying and Gestetner)

Offices and Depots (c.1969)

Tenant Street (HQ) (often miss-spelt Tennant)

  • I G Edwards Engineer and General Manager
  • Dick Appleby - Deputy
  • Norman Bennett - Stores
    • Vince Gregory
  • Denzil Phillips - Distribution - originally from Ashbourne Depot
    • Ashley Roe
    • Nigel McGuinness
    • Ken Vaugn?
    • David Milnes - maybe started at Raynesway?
    • Robin Nuttall - maybe started at Raynesway?
  • Ken Woodhall
  • Howard Bradshaw
  • Brian Williamson
  • Stanley Elliott - Head of Accounts and Costing.
  • Mick Coxon
  • Norma Consterdine
  • Anne Bellamy - Creditors
  • Sue Cooper - Mailroom
  • Cess Woodward - Mains Superintendent
  • Billy Keeble - Services Superintendent
  • Eddie Watson - Watermens Supervisor
  • Tony Spencer

Raynesway Offices and Depot (Depot completed first)
On completion of Raynesway offices in 196? Tenant Street closed and most of the above staff transfered to Raynesway. Listed below is staff that started SDWB at Raynesway:

  • Charles Sadler - Clerical Unit
  • Dorothy Holden (Telephanist)
  • Irene Kirk (Telephanist)
  • Gill Wilson (Admin and reprographics)
  • Phyllis Smith (Admin)
  • Richard Barker (New Works Engineer)
  • Derek Wall (Plumbing Inspector)

King Street, Derby - New Works - Design Engineers

  • Ray Fuller
  • Goeff Cooper
  • Mick Lowe
  • Alan Sutton
  • Paul Wain
  • Graham Millward
  • John West (Jim)
  • John Nation
  • John Green
  • Bernard Peacock
  • Marion Baxendale-Baines (Tracer)
  • Don Higgerson - Building Surveyor
  • ? Smythe Assistant Building Surveyor
  • others

Duke Street, Derby - vehicle and meters maintenance

  • Dickie Davis - (Vehicles)
  • Reg Glaves - (meters)

Green Lane, Derby Offices - Work Study & Safety:
(Prior to move to Raynesway i.e. September 1968 to January 1971)

  • Jeff Richardson - Work Study Officer
  • Vic Allsop - Work Study Assistant
  • Les Gibbs - Work Study Assistant (ex Ripley)
  • Jack Kellett - Work Study Assistant
  • Bob Pownall - Work Study Assistant (ex Ripley)
  • Ron Trueman - Work Study Assistant (ex. Ilkeston)
  • Reuben Cox - Safety Officer

    After the move to Raynesway the following joined the section

  • David Needham - Work Study Assistant
  • Gill Foulds - Work Study Assistant

Ilkeston Depot at (Heanor Road then Furnace Road)

  • Dennis Jowett
  • John Stanley - (Distribution)
  • Don Sisson - later transfered to Raynesway
  • John Simpson
  • Sid Hallam - (Mains Superintendent) died c1971 and was replaced by:
    • Ron Trueman
  • Frank Wall - (Services Superintendent)
  • Ernest Britton - (Services and Plumbing Inspections)
  • Frank Stevenson - (Services and Plumbing Inspections)
  • Frank Knighton (Admin)
  • Colin Kitchen - (Admin)
  • Herbert Fisher - Storeman
  • Ernie Palmer - Boilerman & odd job man
  • Eileen Smith? - Cleaner and tealady
  • Watermen
    • Reg Dilks - Ilkeston
    • Robert (Chick) Hickling
    • Keith Burrows
    • Stuart Pearson
    • Alan Needham
    • Frank Sloane
  • Lorry Drivers
    • Terry Nottingham
    • Larry Brown
  • Service Layers
    • Ron Duroe
    • Harry Pritchard
    • Mick Hardy
    • Geof Henshaw
    • Alan Armstrong
  • Mains Layers
    • Trevor Cook
    • Harry Hutchby
    • Bill? Statham
  • Gangers
    • Reg Nottingham

Matlock Office (in Town Hall) and depot was at Bank Road Matlock - Offices later transfered to site cabins at Homesford Supply Works in 1962 then moved to Ripley c.1969

  • Stan Stewart - District Engineer (ex Water Engineer Matlock UDC)
  • Maurice Buck - Technical Assistant
  • Graham Jackson - Technical Assistant
  • Colin Everett - Technical Assistant
  • Russ Boyack - Engineering Learner
  • Jack Holmes - Plumbing Inspector
  • Marion White - Secretary and Admin.
  • Roy? Webb - plumbing Inspector
  • Jack Holmes - Plumbing Inspector
  • Maurice Dickson - Plumbing Inspector (joined when we moved to Homesford)

Homesford Water Works - before the office from Matlock moved there were:

  • Mr ? Boothman - Engineer and General Manager
  • Jim Smith - Deputy Engineer and General Manager
  • Fred Simpson - Works Superintendant
  • Harry Boden - Admin

Ripley Depot (Closed 29th July 1983)

  • Mr Stuart: District Engineer
  • Jim Smith
  • Mick Trayler - (Distribution)
  • Melvyn Colclough
  • Roger Strong
  • Cheryl Wilson (sister of Gill)
  • Bob Pownell - Mains Superintendent
  • Graham Hall
  • George Jackson: Watermen's Superintendent
  • Herbert Lees
  • Mrs Murial Smith (worked in Admin. and also Jim Smith's wife)

Ashbourne Depot (Derby Road)

  • Bill Warner
  • Jerry Parker (Stores)
  • Mrs Jebbit (admin)
  • Ann Knight (admin) - replaces Mrs Jebbit
  • Dave Redfern
  • Norman Fox

Little Eaton Treatment Works

  • Bill Yoemans Superintendent
  • Mick Dicker (Depot Superintendent up until 1974)
  • Joan Duggan (labs)
    • John Asher
    • Mel Beele
    • Geoff Wright
    • Jim McGaphy?
    • Mrs (Winn) Walker (records)

Stanton By Bridge

  • Pete Allen

Homesford Treatment Works

  • Fred Simpson (Works Superintendent)
  • Bill Laister (succeeded Fred in 197?)
  • Horace Potter
  • Shiftmen 6 #: - Brian Smith,
  • Groundsmen 6#

Cubley Borehole

  • David ?

Lindway Reservior and Treatment

  • Ivan? Brown?

Others - Can't place where they were based or maybe started at Raynesway?

  • Ken Rodwell - Supply and Treatment - Supplies Engineer
  • Joy Clarke Lab Sampler - may have stared at Little Eaton
  • Ian Clarke - Finance
  • Keith Webb - Head of Plumbing Inspectorate
  • Keith Rushby - Special Projects
  • Mike Hope
  • Sheila Draycott - admin
  • Howard Pemberton
  • Ted Dodd - Electrical Engineer
  • Derek Wall - Plumbing Inspector
  • Irene Kirk - Telephanist
  • Sandra Barnes - punch card room
  • Valerie Wholley - punch card room
  • Liz White (Hall) - Billing
  • Bob Needham - Joiner
  • Roger Clayton - New Works Technician
  • Jack Leatherland - Control Room
  • Harry McGowen - Control Room
  • Keith Jepson - Admin
  • Dot Booth
  • Dorothy Holden - Telephanist
  • Beryl Marson
  • Johnny Harrison (mainlayer)
  • Alec Chadwick - painter

Probably? Started at Raynesway

  • Phillis Smith - post and receptionist
  • Max Barlow - insurance

Water Sources and Treatment Works

  • Imported water from The Derwent Valley Water Board - Reserviors at Howden, Derwent and Ladybower.
    • The Derwent Valley Aqueduct (twin mains 48" and 36") ran from the catchment reservoirs in the North to supply Derbyshire, Leicetershire and Nottinghamshire
  • Little Eaton Water Treatment Works - source: infiltration tunnels running parallel the River Derwent
  • Coxbench borehole (later - disused)
  • Stanton by Bridge borehole (ex Long Eaton UDC)
  • Sturston boreholes - later disused
  • Lea borehole - later disused
  • Cubley borehole and treatment works
  • Homesford Water treatment works - source: Merebrook Sough
  • Belper Meadows Borehole
  • Various Spring Sources in the Matlock Area
  • Lindway Reservoir
  • Others?

PDF leaflets are available and show:

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Working in the Distribution Department at Ilkeston in the late 60's

(by John Simpson Feb 2010)

Compared to today the big difference was the lack of technology and the smog that filled every office, because everyone besides Colin Kitchen and myself smoked. The water mains records were kept on paper Ordnance Survey sheets that were hung by cardboard strips in a 4 holed vertical filing cabinet. These strips would often tear and need replacing. Water mains were shown in red ink. A key plan on the wall located the map required using a simple alpha numeric grid system - i.e. L6 was the Sandiacre map.

Sometimes we needed to refer to the old records that had been kept by the Council Water Departments. These were shown on County Series Ordnance survey Sheets kept in plan drawers.

We didn't have photocopiers then so plans showing proposed mains alterations and extensions were drawn by hand onto tracing paper. This was held in place over the map or drawing being copied by drafting tape. The drawing pens were called Graphos and they were like a fountain pen with a nib! These were later replaced with Rotring drawing pens which where similar to the Graphos, but the ink flowed down a thin tube the diameter of which determined the thickness of the line. There were different pens for each line thickness. A wire in the tube was supposed to keep the ink flowing, but they often clogged up with dried ink, if left unused with the cap left off. Text was usually hand printed - or you used stencils. A laborious process and mistakes had to be scratched out using a blade. Before the Rotring pens arrived the stenciling was done using a Uno pen. This had an open reservoir for ink and tube feeding ink to the paper. Much like the Rotring pen but completely open so it was essential not to spill the ink from the reservoir. To get the ink to flow down the tube a spring loaded wire was pressed. To produce paper copies off the finished plan, the tracing paper was placed on top of light sensitive yellow coated paper which was exposed to ultraviolet light in a semi dry copying machine. Trial and error determined the exposure time - after which the printing paper was put through rollers that ran on a tank of liquid that fixed the paper so that the unexposed parts shielded behind the ink turned from yellow to black. A messy and slow process and doing a set of plans to send off to other utilities could take a couple of hours. Often a chemical grunge had to be cleaned off the tank first.

Calculations for estimating costs for mains extensions and diversions were done without calculators. They hadn't been invented then! It was either mental arithmetic or you used your fingers to count. I dreaded the fortnight that Colin went on holiday, because I had to do his job - calculating the wages from the clock cards. It wasn't complicated, but I wasn't used to calculating out overtime hours by time and a quarter or half etc.

In the early days before Works Study came about the mainlaying gangs would consist of 6 or 7 men who would hand dig the roads with pick axes and shovels. Later - with advent of work study and the bonus scheme it would often only by one or two men and a digger (JCB) driver. I remember visiting the gangs in the early days and seeing men huddled in a little hut by the road side drinking tea with milk added to the tea pot. Each gang took coal with them to burn on a brazier - used for warmth in the winter and mashing. Gas bottles and rings replaced the braziers.

One of my jobs was to measure up and record the positions of new main laying. This was done using a tape measure and brick if I didn't have the luxury of a helper - usually a mainlayer or ganger not fit enough to dig the roads. By the way the brick was to hold the beginning of the tape. Later measuring wheels became available and were well worth riding the jibes you got about it not having a saddle!

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Working at The Matlock Office and Homesford Office of SDWB (1961 - 1968)

(by Russ Boyack Feb 2011)

SDWB started to function in April 1961 and I joined it in August of that year at Matlock as an engineering learner. I left to seek my fortune as a Drainage Engineer in January 1968 and I think Mick Trayner took my post.

Three of us joined that August Don Sisson,Tony Spencer and myself. Tony left to work for Shands but I think he still lives in the Wirksworth area. I think Don worked at Ilkeston and Tony at Tennent Street.

In the office at Matlock in the Town Hall, were Stan Stewart District Engineer, Maurice Buck Technical Assistant, Jack Holmes Plumbing Inspector, Marion White Secretary and Admin. and myself.

The depot was in the old tram shed at the top of Bank Road. We communicated between the two by means of a wind up telephone.

The office in Matlock closed in 1962 and we all moved to Homesford in wooden site cabins. Homesford was the site of the Ilkeston and Heanor Water Board depot which took its bulk supply from the MeerbrookSough.This move brought Jim Smith and his wife Murial into the office. Also Maurice Dickson and Roy?Webb as plumbing Inspectors.Also a new technical assistant Graham Jackson joined the office who was followed by Colin Everett when Graham retured to Ewart Chainbelt in Derby. Colin left to return to his native Slough but rejoined STW Ltd as a drainage inspector in the 1990's. Sadly, he is no longer with us.


Homesford was being rebuilt at this time. We were in these offices during the winter of 1962/3. These offices were closed and moved to Ripley sometime about 1969/70. The area administered by this office comprised the Urban District Council's of Matlock, Alfreton, Ripley, Heanor, Belper and Belper Rural District Council.

In the Matlock area the main supplies where spring sources (about 8 - I think?) which required the completion of the dreaded 'Spring Book' every week.The remainder gained their supplies from either the ex.Ilkeston and Heanor Water Board bulk supply mains or the Derwent Valley Aquaducts. Alfreton had its own Bulk reservoirs at Lindway which it backed up with a bulk supply from the DV aquaducts.

I returned to STWA in August 1980.

Further notes from Russ Boyack about the Ripley and Heanor Area and Homesford Works:

There were three depots in the beginning. Matlock, Norman Road Ripley and Hands Road Heanor. Ripley depot had a brick water tower and a house where Herbert Lees lived. Ripley depot was run by Herbert Lees and Heanor depot by Charlie Bennett. All three were eventually consolidated at Ripley. Not sure about the wooden offices at Homesford being moved to Ripley.

Bob Poundall worked at Heanor as a waste inspector and George Jackson at Ripley also as a waste inspector.

There was also a depot at Ashbourne run at one time by Denzel Phillips but I don't know much about it.

The water from the Meer Brook sough at Homesford was orginally softened by the addition of lime. The lime mixed with the lime already in suspension in the water and settled out. The settled lime was then passed through a rotary kiln to dry it. It was then bagged and and sold to the cosmetic and toothpaste industry.The water was then pumped into the twin transmission lines to supply to a reservior at Chadwick Nick. It then flowed by gravity to reservoirs at Hardy Barn, Marlpool.


The original works circa 1901 at Homesford were designed by and the process patented by Jim Smith's father who was the original Engineer and Manager of the Ilkeston and Heanor Water Board. The only other Enginer of the Ilkeston and Heanor Water Board that I know of was a Mr. Boothman who retired about 1963. Mr Smith and Mr Boothman lived in the brick house on the works. The other part of the house was occupied by Fred Simpson who was the works superintendent.

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A Brief History of North Derbyshire Water Board

A brief history of the North Derbyshire Water Board 1962-1974
The North Derbyshire Water Board Order 1962 was the enabling legislation for the creation of a new body covering the northern area of the County to encompass the principal towns of Chesterfield, Bakewell and Buxton. The existing water supply undertakings of Chesterfield, Bolsover and Clowne Water Board, North East Derbyshire Joint Water Committee, the Urban and District Councils of Bakewell and Buxton together with Chapel-en-le-Frith RDC were assimilated into this new statutory body which initially had a population of 314,000 spread over a mainly rural area of 450 square miles.
Preparations for this major re-organisation came at a difficult time for the water supply industry as the winter of 1962/63 gave rise to a sustained period of record sub zero temperatures from December through to March when the ground was frozen solid to a depth in excess of twelve inches. This necessitated virtual round the clock working by staff and workmen to restore supplies to many households and businesses.

The North Derbyshire Water Board’s principal office and depot was originally established at New Beetwell Street in Chesterfield with some finance staff based in the outlying suburb of Whittington Moor. Sub-offices/depots were set up at Bolsover and Eckington for the Chesterfield area; at Ashford-in-the-Water (on the banks of the River Wye) and King Street Bakewell for the Bakewell area and at Gadley Lane Buxton and Chapel-en-le-Frith to serve the Buxton area.

The new Board (with its members being drawn from the constituent authorities) became responsible for the supply and distribution of water to the whole of North Derbyshire north of Matlock and Darley Dale with one notable exception. The village of Youlgrave for many years had had its own private water supply derived from local spring and river sources operated by the Youlgrave Waterworks Company. The Company opted to maintain its independent operation that has continued to the present day. The original stone water supply tank, dated 1829, is still prominently displayed in the centre of the village.

Shortly after the formation of the North Derbyshire Water Board, staff in the Chesterfield area moved to a relatively modern office building at West Street, Chesterfield and a larger works depot was acquired at Brimington Road, Chesterfield. The West Street office also included an adjacent older office block which was aptly known as Reservoir House. This being on the site of the first water supply tank for Chesterfield when the Chesterfield Waterworks and Gaslight Company, which was founded in 1825, dammed the Holme Brook with a masonry weir in order to pipe fresh water by gravity to the storage tank. This system was superseded when the Linacre reservoirs (a series of three cascading reservoirs to the NW of Chesterfield) were constructed between 1854 and 1911.

Barbrook impounding reservoir, which was built in 1910 on Big Moor near Owler Bar, to supply northern Chesterfield had its own treatment works below the dam. A diesel generator on site provided electricity to the works and adjacent house. Owing to its remote high level location the Superintendent often had to light fires in the outlet tunnel in winter to stop the system from freezing up. Barbrook also fed into Little Barbrook (about a mile downstream) and nearby Ramsley reservoir which supplied water to Crowhole Reservoir and Smeekley Treatment Works where the treatment was fairly rudimentary and consisted mainly of removing iron as the water passed through open trays. Further downstream on the outskirts of Chesterfield, Barlow Treatment Works provided conventional water treatment.

South of Chesterfield, Ogston Reservoir, which was constructed in 1958 to supply the new NCB Carbonisation Plant at Wingerworth, became the principal source of supply when its operational capacity was boosted in the late 1960s by additional abstraction from the River Derwent at Ambergate. This augmented the supply to the Chesterfield area and eventually the Linacre Reservoirs were taken out of service.
The NE sector of the Board’s area received its water from continuous underground pumping of the bunter sandstone and magnesian limestone strata at Manton Colliery. This was piped to Lowtown Treatment Works near Worksop before being pumped to Barlborough to a service reservoir and egg cup shaped steel water tower (known locally as the Tank). There was also a water tower at Hillstown which was fed from the Bolsovermoor Borehole and Treatment Works.

In the Bakewell area the water supply for many years had been derived from small spring and borehole sources serving individual towns and villages. In 1953 Bakewell RDC commenced its “Area Water Scheme” to improve and upgrade these sources. One notable example being the construction of a new pumping station on Sir William Hill Road above Grindleford in which a mechanical three throw ram pump (that could be heard from fifty yards away) delivered Derwent Valley water for storage on Eyam Moor. More recently its replacement by an electric motor has restored the air of tranquillity back to this area. The small local sources were gradually replaced by NDWB over the next few years by taking additional feeds from the Derwent Valley Aqueduct which conveniently runs through the spine of the Bakewell area.

Buxton benefited from the surrounding uplands which provided gathering grounds for two impounding reservoirs. Stanley Moor, of rectangular design, being sited to the south of the town with its associated treatment works about a mile away off the Grin Low road; and to the north were the Lightwood Reservoirs (two in tandem) with an onsite treatment works.

The North Derbyshire Water Board was dissolved by virtue of the Water Act 1973 to be re-formed as the North Derbyshire Water Supply Division of Severn Trent Water on 1 April 1974. During the latter years of NDWB its dual management structure was as follows:-

ENGINERING
  • Charles Crombie Engineer & Manager
  • Peter Davey Deputy Engineer & Manager
  • Paul Medley New Works Engineer
  • Alan Whetton Supplies Engineer
  • John Jepson Chemist & Bacteriologist
  • John King Work Study Officer

FINANCE

  • Colin Bright Clerk & Treasurer
  • David Vasey Deputy Clerk & Treasurer
  • Ken Alsop Revenue Accountant
  • Jim Drennan Management Accountant
  • Travis Walker Internal Audit & Data Processing Manager
  • Duncan Corden Quasi Legal & Administrative Officer

The total number of monthly paid staff at this time was about 105 together with approximately 140 hourly paid staff. The names of some of these staff (by no means an exclusive list) were:-
Chesterfield area based
Bob Porter, Adrian Bacon, George Bacon, Mervyn Bray, John Galloway, Brian Marriott, Peter Robinson, Alf Bush, Heather Bush, Harry Smith, Colin Staniforth, Eddie Constantine, Peter Meadows, Cec Bourne, Hartley French, Roy George, Dick Senior, Mick Blakemore, Jim Mart, Dennis Smith, Chris White, Derek Lees, Bob Shaw, Maurice Rowland, Mick Hydes, Bill Gullick, Keith Sanderson, Michael Tranter, Andrew Beaumont, Maynard Stephens, Les Hill, Charlie Brooks, Arthur Penney, Frank Berrisford, Ernest Battersby, Cyril Jones, John Booth, Steve Hill, Peter Speed, John Maloney, Roy Dann, Keith Clarke, Dave Thurman, Ken Fox, Roy Mulcaster, Cliff Brothwell, Gordon Wheatcroft, Fred Bunton, Jean Langley, Pat Bown, Kath Bolton, Susan Morton, Ernest Bown, Roger Ashton, Malcolm Riley, Graham Wholey, Adrian Whitely, Tony Bird, Eleanor Wake,
Alan Wilson, Bill Chapman, Arthur Lilley, Alf Green, Frank Dudley, Harold Vernon, Mick Cannon, Bill Thompson, Malcolm Downing, Dave Browett, Eric Jones, Walter Maskerey, Carl Swift, Alan Hardy, Stuart Hardy, Reuben Boler, Bob Boler, Roy Redfearn, Trevor Finch, Barry Wright, Jim Matchett, Ken Adlington, Terry Mather, Ray Machin, John Severn, Les Lindley, Dave Carlin, Robin Holmes, John Adams, Dave Meakin, Eric Crooks, Harold Peters, Denby Rowland, Ray Cooper.
Bakewell area
Roy Watson (& Buxton), Derek Brightmore, Charles Pykett, Madge Crawshaw, John Palethorpe, Ray Lawrence, Gerald Stafford (died in service), Vernon Harrison, Tim Pheasey, George Eaton, Arthur Eyre, Charlie Bright, Geoff Brightmore.
Buxton area
Tom Taylor, Geoff Richardson (died in service), Stan Mottram, John Williams, Chris Palmer, Ian Titterton, Ian Daniel, Daphne Woodman, Maureen Lee, Bob Percival, Cliff Percival, Bill Percival, Geoff Grimshaw, Ron Barton, George Mitchell, Peter Nadin.

------------------------------


This article has been written by John King based upon his personal recollections whilst in the employment of North Derbyshire Water Board. Any additions or amendments would be appreciated.
May 2015

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The formation of The Severn Trent Water Authority.

(1974 - )

With the formation of Severn Trent: in 1974, each Water Board became a single function Severn-Trent Division e.g. SDWB became South Derbyshire Water Supply Division under the then existing management.

It didn't become Derwent Division until 1975 when the 3 Derbyshire water supply divisions, Derby reclamation division based at Vernon Street, and the Derbyshire area of the Trent River Authority merged to form Derwent Division with John Brown as Manager and some senior managers from North Derbyshire.

Thus for water Supply and Distribution, Derwent Division comprised of North Derbyshire Water Board, South Derbyshire Water Board and Derwent Valley Water Board.

(information from Jeff Richardson Feb 2011)

Invaders from the North

When Severn Trent Water Authority was created Raynesway became it's Derwent Divisonal HQ. However all the top jobs went to the ex. North Derbyshire Staff.

  • Ken Alsop
  • Dennis Wake
  • Colin Bright
  • Paul Medley
  • John Jepson
  • John King
  • Peter Shaw NDWB Dist. Engineer in 1974

The exceptions being:

  • John Banham who came from the Wolverhampton and Dudley Water Department.
  • Peter Smith - ex Trent River Authority (Nottingham)
  • John Brown who came from Hastings?
  • Peter Darby - ex. Great Ouse River Authority

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THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF DERWENT DIVISION

(1974 - 1987)

(by John King - written Jan 2010)


Prior to 1974 the various water functions were administered by many disparate bodies and local authorities. Water supply and distribution activities were generally the responsibility of localised water boards; sewerage and sewage disposal functions were usually under local authority jurisdiction with river management and land drainage being controlled by river authorities.


The Water Act of 1973 reorganised the water industry (except for existing private water companies) in England and Wales and established 10 regional water authorities (from 1 April 1974) with their areas defined by river catchments. Severn Trent became the second largest water authority with a catchment area stretching from the Bristol Channel to the Humber estuary. Severn Trent’s head office was established at Abelson House in Birmingham and the region was divided into twenty eight single purpose divisions, namely:- 16 water supply divisions (formerly water boards), 2 rivers divisions (formerly river authorities), and 10 new water reclamation divisions to be responsible for the sewerage and sewage disposal functions transferred from local authorities. These single purpose divisions had only been in operation for some six months when it was decided that the structure would be rationalized by reducing their number to eight multi-functional divisions. Hence Derwent Division was created on 1 April 1975 by the amalgamation of the South Derbyshire, North Derbyshire, and Derwent Valley Water Supply Divisions; the Derwent Water Reclamation Division; and the Derwent/Dove catchments of the Trent River Division.


John Brown was appointed as Divisional Manager of Derwent Division and the head office was established at the former South Derbyshire Water Supply Division’s offices at Raynesway, Derby. Reporting to John were the departmental heads comprising Paul Medley-Divisional Engineer, John Banham - Divisional Controller of Operations, Colin Bright-Divisional Finance and Administration Officer, John Jepson-Divisional Scientist and John King-Divisional Personnel Services Officer. The total number of non manual, manual and craft employees at the outset was about 1050.
The individuals in each department reporting to the relevant officer named above were:-


Engineering

Gordon Jones - Assistant Divisional Engineer (Projects)
Peter Davey - ADE (Planning and Co-ordination)
Peter Smith - ADE (Maintenance)

A few years later Gordon left the Division to take up an operational post with the Welsh Water Authority and he was replaced by Geoff Shaw. Peter Davey left to become Project Manager for the Carsington reservoir scheme and Ken Valentine was appointed to the vacancy.

Operations

George Greene - Assistant Divisional Operations Controller (Reclamation)
Ken Rodwell - ADOC (Supply)
Bill Webley - ADOC (Distribution)
Peter Darby - ADOC (Rivers and General)

George retired at the end of that year and Terry Tricker replaced him.

Staff at the next reporting level in Operations were:-

Reclamation ---------- Terry Tricker (to be replaced by Alf Bradford) and Don Yates
Supply ---------- Bob Porter and Brian Bowker
Distribution ---------- John West and Peter Shaw
Rivers ---------- Neville Cooper and David Eaton who was in charge of Technical Services

Finance and Administration

David Vasey - Assistant Divisional Finance Officer (Accounting)
Brian Williamson - ADFO (Exchequer)
Duncan Corden - Assistant Divisional Administration Officer

Sadly, Duncan died a few months later and Alwyn Smith was appointed to the post.

Scientific Services

Paul Smith - Assistant Divisional Scientist (South)
Joan Duggan - ADS (North) based at Matlock
Keith Selby - Principal Pollution Control Officer

Personnel Services

Jeff Richardson - Principal Management Services Officer
Ken Hooley - Principal Personnel Officer
Alan Sherratt - Safety and Security Officer


Salary scales and terms and conditions of employment were determined predominantly at national level and to a lesser extent at regional level through joint consultative bodies made up of employer and employee representatives. New salary and hourly pay scales for the water industry were introduced at an early date in order to rationalize and unify the differing systems that prevailed for employees who had been transferred to Severn Trent at the outset.
Derwent Division faced a number of operational challenges in the early years and in particular the droughts of 1975 and 1976 which reduced the water level of Ladybower reservoir to expose some of the remains of the previously submerged Derwent village. In early 1977 heavy rain brought about flooding problems on sections of the river Derwent. In January 1983 the first and only national water strike by manual and craft employees began after the employers rejected demands for a 15% pay rise to bring about parity with gas and electricity workers. The unions undertook to provide cover for emergencies but the expectation was that the duration of the strike would be short and swift. Nevertheless it continued for some six weeks before a settlement was reached and work resumed.


In 1982 there was a change of Divisional Manager as John Brown decided to follow his former Middlesbrough school colleague, Brian Clough, eastwards to Nottingham to become Divisional Manager of the larger Lower Trent Division. Alan Harker, who was Divisional Manager at Avon Division, moved to Derwent to replace him.

During the late 1970s the process of transferring some non-operational functions to region began with the creation of a centralised billing unit at Aqua House in Birmingham although Raynesway was maintained as a satellite unit for some time. In subsequent years other functions were transferred progressively including Salaries and Wages, Laboratories, Computing, Purchasing and Accounting. Civil Engineering was rationalized whereby the Derwent and Upper Trent units were combined under Paul Medley to form one of four outposted units responsible to region.


The divisional management structure was also amended in the early 80s whereby John Banham’s post became Assistant Divisional Manager (Operations) and Colin Bright’s post became Assistant Divisional Manager (Services). Following the retirements of John and Colin, John Jepson became ADM(Ops) and Peter Dolan ADM(Services). Peter subsequently transferred to region and David Vasey became ADM(Services). Eddie Powell was appointed as Divisional Engineer to succeed Paul Medley and Bryan Chapman replaced John Jepson as Divisional Scientist.

In 1986 the process of transferring operational functions from divisions to a more localised and separate district system began with the Severn Trent region being split into some fifteen districts each headed by a District Manager. The remaining support activities continued at divisional level with the number of divisions reduced from eight to four. Hence Derwent was combined with Upper Trent to form the new Northern Division from 1 April 1987.

JK/01/10

OFFICES AND DEPOTS OF DERWENT DIVISION (compiled by John Simpson - Jan 2010)

  • Raynesway - HQ Offices and Depot (formerly those of South Derbyshire Water Board)
  • Vernon Street Derby - Office - was HQ of Reclamation Division for about a year then used for Tech Services and Other Staff
  • Ilkeston Depot - carried on as Distribution Works Depot and for short time office for Rivers Staff. Sold to TV repair firm and staff and workmen relocated to Raynesway.
  • Ripley Distribution section Depot - eventually closed - Staff moved to Raynesway - some operational staff and mains repair stores transferred to Marehay Sewage Works
  • Ashbourne Distribution Office and Depot.
  • Bamford Offices - formerly Derwent Valley Water Board HQ.
  • Darley Dale Depot (Derwent Valley aqueduct operational staff)
  • Buxton Office and Distribution Depot
  • Chesterfield - West Street Offices - formerly North Derbyshire Water Board HQ. Closed and staff relocated.
  • Chesterfield - Brimington Road - Water Distribution Depot and Office
  • Matlock - Dimple Road - Office and Distribution Depot.
  • Little Eaton Water Treatment Works - Office and Labs.
  • Derby Sewage Works - Office - maintenance depot and Labs.
  • Leek Sewage Works - Office and Labs.
  • Bakewell Office - Reclamation staff.
  • Other Reclamation Offices Staff at various other Sewage Works: i.e. Ashbourne, Belper,

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