Down the chute

There is continuing interest and debate on the nature of the pump house and spillway at Chasewater. I’ve had some excellent contributions, and I must get up there soon to investigate some of them. My previous poke around was very cursory and seemed to be focussing on all the wrong bits… I will go more prepared next time.

First up, Graham Evans of the Chasewater Wildlife Group has taken my last post and really ran with it (scroll down past the latest dam news, which is also informative and incisive as usual). To Graham, if it was Sunday that you saw a fellow investigator, then that wasn’t me… Saturday evening certainly. I will source a map of Chasewater in it’s entirety at the weekend, but these aren’t easy to assemble so I’ll have to do one at a time I think – I’ll start with 1884 1:2500, and take it from there.

The latest update on the pump story on Chasewater Wildlife Group's homepage. Click to visit.

Long term reader and top contributor Andy Dennis also sent a really interesting contribution – it seems he’s been exploring the spillway and sluices, too. Apparently, at the moment you can’t move around Chasewater for the local history anoraks snooping into things. Which Is rather wonderful, I feel. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is exactly what makes doing this blog so much fun: local folk sharing and interest, and debating stuff in a way that wasn’t possible before the internet.

Keep it up, folks.

Andy said:

Hello Bob

Following your blog about the Chasewater spillway and the comment about a footbridge across the chute I wandered over and had a look and took some pictures.

The metal structure (BCN 1886 – sorry about the obscuring vegetation) only appears at the right hand (east) end. The stone beneath the metal has a groove and there is a similar one below the other end of the metal. The trough at the bottom of the chute has what looks like a weir at the right end which allows water into a brick arch below and behind the metal bar. Presumably, the grooves are to block this route and force water into the canal? If so, the metal is probably a mount for a sluice control.

I assume the path was for access to the southern ends of the loading screens that were mounted on the brick piers a little to the east of the chute.

You suggest that containment is one of the objectives. Well, this fits with the grooves at the top of the chute (groove right and groove left). Presumably, these would allow the chute to be blocked and water retained in the depression between there and the nine foot pool – I’ve always known this as “The Cuckoo”, though I’ve no idea why it is so called. Above the right hand groove is a mounting for something (bolt hole) with some sort of turning device (tap).

I wonder if this rather elaborate, belt-and-braces overflow system was designed bearing in mind the earlier failure of the dam and the need to reassure local property owners and canal users.

As you say, the spillway did come into action from time to time. The last two occasions, according to my picture archive, were January – February 2008 and All Fools Day 2005.

 I hope you find these at least mildly interesting.



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