Report - - St. Thomas Hill Water Tower, Canterbury, Kent - July 2020 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St. Thomas Hill Water Tower, Canterbury, Kent - July 2020


On the astral plane
28DL Full Member
In the 1860s, Canterbury's water supply was drawn from a variety of sources, such as the River Stour and local wells. However, without a filtration system, the water was deemed hazardous and unfit for human use, and could only be used for cleaning purposes. Subsequently, by 1870 a pumping station was constructed at Wincheap, which was designed to filtrate the water and make it suitable to drink.
Water was now being drawn from two deep boreholes in the chalk at a rate of 1,000 gallons a minute, and pumped under pressure through a main pipeline into a 350,000-gallon holding tank at the top of St Thomas' Hill.
In 1924, two more deep boreholes were excavated at the pumping station for further water extraction. However, with the holding tank only being able to handle 350,000 gallons, a second storage facility was needed. And so, by 1927, Canterbury Gas & Water had the tower constructed, which began operating the following year.
The entire water supply network remained active up until 1993, when the holding tank was drained. Then, just 4 years later, the water tower was also drained, and by 1998, the water production system was officially decommissioned, leaving the tower standing empty and disused.
However, in more recent years, it was repurposed as a mobile phone mast, with transmitter dishes having been installed on the roof, but still leaving the rest of the rest of the tower abandoned. As for the 350,000-gallon holding tank, a private company has since begun work on converting it into a living space... definitely not my idea of a dream home!

Disused Water Pipeline From Wincheap to St Thomas Hill


The Explore:
I'd seen this place from a distance many times, much like anyone else who's visited Canterbury, as it's bright white exterior makes it particularly eye-catching, especially with it being on such a prominent area above the city. However, I'd never actually bothered to inspect the base of it... up until recently.
After I'd caught word of it being open, myself, @Conrad and @obscurity decided to go and check it out. And much to our pleasure, we managed to have a good look around. Unfortunately, with myself having forgotten to take my camera that time around, I made a return trip the following weekend with @Slippin_Jimm and @Sprackles to get some shots of this place, as It was definitely something I'd wanted to capture.





We began to make our way up the ladder and onto the first level. Once you actually get beyond the netting, the whole place just seems to open up. People have always said the older structures were built to last, and this place certainly proves that theory correct, the walls of this place must've been at least 2ft thick. However, I can't say the same for the staircase which connects the top floor to the roof access ladder... it did definitely seem to wabble a fair bit!





Once up the ladder, it opened out up onto the roof. At this point, I really should've changed lenses to zoom in on Canterbury, but either way, it did offer some good views. I could definitely see why o2 chose it as the ideal location to install their phone signal dishes. I didn't want to get to close to the non-ionising radiation, but after climbing the 1000ft mast the other month, I don't think a little more exposure would've made any difference haha.
Also on the roof, the hatch leading into the water holding tank was open, and so we decided to give it a look. I'd seemed to of forget just how spacious this place is until I was sat at the bottom of the tank, and just to think it's what once served water to the majority of Canterbury...




(Inside the main water tank)



(The tower from the ground level)


And that was that... Admittedly this wasn't the most hardcore of locations, but as it's a relatively local place that I've had an eye on, I thought it best to get in while the going was good. All in all, an interesting little spot!

- Thanks for looking -

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Very nice. I wouldn't even think of doing here. Great shots and views. Loving the downward views of the ladders :thumb

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Iv always wondered what the insides of a water tower holds, now I know & it does look worth a visit.

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