Report - - Jumbo water tower, Colchester July 2017 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Jumbo water tower, Colchester July 2017


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Jumbo Water Tower is a local name for the water tower at the Balkerne Gate in Colchester essex and is a Grade II listed building, standing opposite the Mercury theatre. Jumbo is one of the tallest Victorian water towers in England. Jumbo was an elephant at the London Zoo, and it had been recently sold, over great public outcry, to American showman and circus entrepreneur PT Barnum (of Barnum and Bailey's Circus). The nickname stuck, and when the tower was finally complete,the local council stuck a gilded weathervane in the shape of an elephant on top.Construction took around 20 months and was completed in 1883. 1,200,000 bricks and 819 tons of stone and cement were used in the construction of the tower. Inside the central pier are 157 steps made out of cast iron in a spiral staircase design. During WW2, Jumbo was used as a lookout post for enemy aircraft. Jumbo is a staggering 131ft and offers a beautiful view of colchester from the top.

Decommissioned and sold in 1987, Jumbo has since had a string of owners and a number of inappropriate planning applications have been made.These have been consistently refused, but in May this year an application was submitted to convert Jumbo into flats.The plans propose glazing over its soaring open arches, destroying the views through the structure that are such a unique feature of the building and Colchester town centre.Former owner George Braithwaite, a developer who bought the tower for £330,000 eight years ago, said the issue was “a closed book” as far as he was concerned. He had two schemes to convert the tower into a restaurant, offices and flats with a viewing gallery turned down by Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee. But recently Jumbo was sold at auction to a local poultry farmer for £190K.

The Explore
After deciding that evening we were going to pay Jumbo a visit, we made our way over to colchester as the sun was setting we were trying to get up the top as quickly as we could to get the best pictures. Once we had got there from the top of the St Mary's multi-storey we could see young kids up there so we knew acess must be easy if they had managed it. Anyway by the time we had got to Jumbo we managed to gain acess straight away. Got inside and all the power was still on so we had light which was helpful as there were so many steps. They seemed to go on forever but finally we came to one of the floors it consisted of Large pumping room.


As I was going up I had taken pictures of the numbers on the walls I assume referring to the amount of steps till the next platform.





Then this was finally the last one we came across and then we came onto the room that leads onto the roof of Jumbo. In the middle of the room next was an old cast iron staircase that lead up into the cupola (tower at the top) but was sadly boarded up but the staircase was beautiful.

Out the hatch and onto the roof the view was something else. For me this was the first tower/climb I had done and I was not disappointed. I was just glad to sit on the roof to take some pictures them stairs had done my legs in!







Thanks for reading. Excuse the picture quality most of these were taken on my Iphone as I couldn't quite shoot right on my camera but did manage to get some nice-ish shots on it at the top.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice photos! I'm in the Colchester area an wondered about doing the water tower so may have to take a look!

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