The Wolverhampton Waterworks Company

In 1845 the Wolverhampton Waterworks Company was formed to supply the town with water. There were 24 promoters including Charles Mander and John Neve, who were prominent local industrialists. Another was John Freer Proud, a local doctor who had previously attempted to provide the town with a dispensary. The company’s resident engineer was Thomas Wicksteed who was a pioneer of the intermittent system of water supply. He had previously been Engineer to the East London Waterworks Company and was responsible for the construction of the Hull Waterworks.

The new waterworks was built in Regis Road, Tettenhall. Up to 800,000 gallons a day were pumped from boreholes and stored in reservoirs. Houses connected to the mains supply received water from 7.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on weekdays and all weekend. Everyone else had to use standpipes or the town’s water carts.

Wicksteed soon left Wolverhampton and was replaced by his apprentice, Henry John Marten. Henry was appointed in 1846 and was just 19 years old at the time. He was also allowed to continue with his private practice. Luckily for Wolverhampton he was an advocate of a constant water supply and so the intermittent supply was soon a thing of the past. Henry quickly started work on the design of the Goldthorn Hill reservoir, which was one of the earliest covered reservoirs in the country. It was built in 1849. 

He was responsible for the construction of waterworks at Wellington, Bridgnorth and Stourbridge and designed the sewage scheme for Bilston, which was one of the earliest drainage systems in England. 

In 1854 he married the daughter of E.B. Dimmack, owner of Parkfield Ironworks and Colliery. In 1856 he resigned from the waterworks company to become Dimmack’s partner at the ironworks. The water company also took water from the disused Rough Hills colliery site on Goldthorn Hill, but the water was somewhat impure.

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