These days we are visiting lots of places with Heritage Open Days and the first one we’ve been to was the High Park Reservoir. We tried to visit it before, but it was so popular that we didn’t manage to get in, despite them allowing up to 60 people per tour. This time we arrived at the High Park Reservoir before it actually opened and still got in the second tour.
The reservoir was built in 1853 with funds from wealthy local merchants and served a dual purpose. Firstly it was used to provide clean water to a growing population. Liverpool was growing fast in the middle of the 19th century as a lot of Irish immigrants were coming here due to the failure of their potato crops. The second purpose and the incentive for the merchants to provide the funds was that water from the reservoir could be used to put out fires in the docks, if needed. Both the ships and the warehouses were mainly made out of timber and the content was, usually, flammable.
I asked the guide and he didn’t know if the water was ever used to put out fires.
This is where the water would be drawn. I am impressed how great it still looks. Water was stored at the High Park Reservoir from its beginnings and until 1997, so almost 150 years. The bricks look like they were installed only a few years ago, despite all the bricks being original. Some reparations were made, with concrete, and it doesn’t look as great.
This was used to close the pipes with water coming in, similar to how a modern toilet cistern works.
As an extra safety feature, there was this overflow system, so water could be released so it wouldn’t add too much pressure on the reservoir. As with most Victorian engineering projects, this is just as spectacular, long lasting, and very well thought of.
The stairs lead to the roof and the tower. The roof is in need of repairs, mostly caused by weeds that grow into the fabric of the building.
Today the reservoir is used for filming, for productions such as Florence Nightingale, Peaky Blinder’s, and The City and the City. It is open for various heritage events.
The High Park Reservoir was bombed by the Germans during the Blitz, in 1941. The wall cracked, but survived and, as I mentioned earlier, the reservoir continued to be in use for a few more decades after this. That is a very impressive piece of Victorian engineering.
This is the crack in the wall, on the outside.
On the outside the reservoir needs a bit of TLC as well. So, if you visit the reservoir, please consider a donation, even a couple of coins can help raise funds.
High Park Reservoir is on High Park Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L8 8LU. It is open on Heritage Open Days. They might have other events as well, but, unfortunately their website is not updated regularly.