|Abberton Reservoir expansion project
the story so far
Brochure published by Essex & Suffolk Water
There is a copy of the brochure in the Resource Centre.
The brochure is no longer available on the ESW website. You can link to Mersea Museum copy:
Abberton_History_Brochure.pdf (opens in a new window - 1.9 Mb)
06 History of the supply network
08 Construction of the reservoir
12 The main dam
14 Other reservoir structures
20 The war years
21 Air raids
22 Post war developments
23 Environmental history
Page 11 List of buildings moved
Lower Barn - situated at the end of the track from St Andrew's Church, Abberton
Layer House - situated in front of the dam off of a track that ran from the west end of the dam from Lodge Lane, Peldon
Butlers Farm - situated in the middle of the reservoir to the east of the pumping station, on the same track as Layer House, and adjacent to a copse known as Butlers Grove.
Small farm buildings - situated in the middle of the reservoir to the west of the pumping station, on a track that was the continuation of Fields Farm Road.
Billets Barn - at the entrance to Wigborough Bay, that was on a track that ran from the B1026 near the beginning of the current causeway.
Brook Cottages (5) - situated by Layer Breton Causeway
Many of the civil engineering contractors who constructed the reservoir and treatment works came from Durham and were accommodated, with their families, in wooden cottages built at Badcocks Farm along with the concrete batching plant and the site offices. These were dismantled after construction. Badcocks Farm wa adjacent to the main dam and where the farmhouse stood is the site of Broad Meadows House.
As war was approaching the contractors were asked to stay on and run the treatment works and many of them came and stayed permanently. Families such as the Taylor's Rampling's and Fry's have long histories with Abberton, the families worked on the construction - Joe Fry was the site Blacksmith and in 1957 there were three Fry's working at Layer Treatment works, Jesse Fry was ganger in the filter beds,'Dusty' Rampling was reported as loosing a finger while attaching a cable to one of the Ruston steam engines to remove a large tree during reservoir construction.
The Engineer for the project was Mr Stanley Aldridge, he came from Co. Durham where he had just completed the construction of Burnhope reservoir, he later became General Manager at Layer works. During construction Mr Aldridge bought a purpose built roller that was made by Marshalls that had been used in the construction of Burnhope reservoir, and he modified the earth scrapers to give improved operation, as they were continually getting stuck in wet conditions, the scrapers operated with a cable around one wheel which caused them to slew round and stick.
A local resident, Jim Bunting, remembers the construction. Being born in 1921 and living at Rye Farm, he was at school when the project started.
When he left school he went to work on the farm but contracted to level the land around the reservoir and sow grass seed, he also helped to lay the electricity cables from the pumping station to the treatment works with his farm tractor.
Page 23 Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Jim Bunting and Gerald Curtis for their memories of the reservoir construction.
A later brochure is also was published about 2015.
See Abberton_scheme_brochure.pdf (opens in new window 3.7Mb)
Abberton Reservoir - what was there before - PH01_ARV