Water Tower

The Water Tower
Park Road | Aldeburgh | Suffolk | IP15 5ET

Please note the Water Tower is now a private residence.

Brief history

Year Date Event
1870 Oct 11 Tenders invited by Aldeburgh Waterworks Company (Limited) for construction of waterworks
1870 Nov Construction of waterworks reportedly begins by Messrs. Smyth under superintendence of W. Bruff, Engineer
1870 Dec Formal application to Department of Trade to construct waterworks
1871 Apr 13 Provisional oder made empowering Aldeburgh Waterworks Company (Limited) to construct waterworks
~1871/72 Water tower with 11,000 gallon tank completed
1901 Nov Aldeburgh Waterworks Company (Limited) wound up
1909 Jul 5 Report provided to Aldeburgh Corporation on raising and enlarging existing water tower and tank
~1909/10 Water tower increased in height to accommodate larger 35,000 gallon tank supported by new steel framework inside
c. 1980’s Water tower becomes redundant
1996 Jul 9 Listed as Grade II Building
2007 Apr 2 Water tower sold by owners Northumbrian Water at auction by Savills at Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London for £407,000 to pharmacist Mr E H Borno
2010 Oct Planning application on behalf of owner Mr E H Borno for restoration, alterations and change of use of water tower to form two new residential units including a new ground floor extension with planted sedum roof and rooftop glazed studio submitted
2011 Mar 11 Desk Study Report commissioned by owner Mr E H Borno published by Matthew Elcock BEng FGS of Geotechnical & Environmental Associates Limited
2012 Jun 8 Planning application on behalf of Mr E H Borno for restoration, alterations and change of use of the water tower to form a new residential dwelling including a new ground floor extension with a planted sedum roof and a glazed rooftop studio granted
2016 Oct Work on converting water tower nears completion


The above map extract (1881) shows the location of the water works. Far left are the abstraction reservoirs coloured blue. These were connected by pipe to the pumping station, coloured red, to the left of the water works descriptor. The pumping station was connected by pipe to the water tower, coloured red, immediately below the ‘s’ of the water works descriptor. The pipe from the water tower originally led down the Town Steps to the High Street. Marsh Lane on the 1881 map is now Park Road, and Priors Hill Road has since been constructed (see 1926 map below).

The Water Tower c.1905. Image courtesy of Chris Whately-Smith.

Postcard View of the Water Tower.

June 1920. Britain from Above.

Viewed from the East 21 May 2006. © David Squire and licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence

26 February 2011 © Adrian S Pye and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

Shrouded in scaffolding 24 March 2016. © Cud05 and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

Before commencement of works 2014. © Graham Catchpole

Conversion to private residence nearing completion. 2016. © Graham Catchpole


2014: Conversion of Grade II listed water tower to begin as soon as possible

As published by East Anglian Daily Times, 26 July 2014

The conversion of a Grade II listed water tower into a six storey family home is hoped to begin “as soon as possible” after amended plans were given the go ahead. Architects redeveloping the 22-metre tall tower opposite Aldeburgh community hospital said work could begin as early as September after permission was granted on Wednesday.


Aldeburgh Water Tower in Park Road. Copyright EADT 2014

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s north area planning committee chairman Debbie McCallum said the proposals were “extremely exciting”. She described the project as a “labour of love” after learning that it was being carried out in memory of the owner’s dead wife.

The application, which will see the 19th Century landmark fitted out with living space over six storeys, was first approved in 2012. Then, the proposal was for a minimalist “glass cube” to be built around its ground floor with a roof terrace at the top. Resubmitted plans have replaced the cube with three copper clad “modules” around the north, east and west of the tower and include alterations to the basement wine cellar.

The planning officer’s report identified the alterations as being “slightly more beneficial in terms of its relationship with the neighbouring amenity”.

Solicitors on behalf of the hospital, however, raised concerns about the development’s “unacceptable detrimental impact on the staff and residents” and called for a “construction management plan” to be submitted before work begins, addressing difficulties over contractor parking, access, noise and dust. The League of Friends of Aldeburgh and District Community Hospital also submitted concerns about disruption and privacy.

Committee members, however, welcomed the application, which they felt would preserve an important building that might otherwise be left to deteriorate.

Councillor Michael Gower said: “Someone is willing to put a great deal of money in to preserve the building when there are no other offers on the table. This is the sort of building that in other towns can easily remain empty with bits falling off. It’s great to see that in Aldeburgh the building will be preserved and put to use.”

Dominic Goldfinger, of Polyhedron Architecture Ltd, told the committee he was keen to begin work “as soon as possible” and expected the project to take between 10 and 15 months to complete.

2007: International fight for room with a view

As published by East Anglian Daily Times, 31 March 2007

It is landmark building which enjoys panoramic views over one of Suffolk’s most upmarket coastal towns – and there is now an international scramble to own it. Standing in the heart of Aldeburgh, the redundant water tower was built in the 1870s and is set to be auctioned off for a guide price of £175,000.

But there has already been interest expressed from East Anglia, London and America, and auctioneers expect a much higher price to be paid. More than 100 people have also attended two open days at the property in Priors Hill Road, adjacent to the community hospital. It is obvious that whoever buys the tower will enjoy panoramic coastal views after they have poked their head through the roof hatch and stood on the parapet. But a future use for it will ultimately depend on a decision by planners at Suffolk Coastal.

Peter Ogilvie, a residential negotiator with Savills estate agents in Ipswich, said: ”We have received interest from every conceivable quarter, from affluent businessmen who only want this as an interest to others who are hoping for residential consent. There are also those who are interested in having it as a folly and there has been such a huge amount of interest that we do expect it will go for in excess of £200,000. It is clearly a unique opportunity to acquire a stunning building in the heart of Aldeburgh with the finest views of the river and the coast.”

However, Mr Ogilvie added: ”Whoever buys it will have to do their due diligence for there are a lot of legal issues and they will have to approach the district council to make sure that any conversion would be suitable to the planners.”

David Harvey, a civil and facilities engineer with the Essex and Suffolk Water Board, said: ”The water would have been pumped to the top where there was a tank and then the pressure in the tank from being that high would pressurise the whole network. We have been arguing over when it was last used. I was under the impression it was 1979 but I have been told today that it was about 1982. Years and years ago there would be a man in Pump Cottage opposite who would look out of his bedroom window and see from a gauge on the wall if more water was needed in the tower or not.”

There are some water towers still in use in Suffolk, including Leiston and Saxmundham, and there are others, most notably the nearby House in the Clouds at Thorpeness, which have been turned into a des res. The tower is being sold by Northumbrian Water Ltd on Monday at 10am at a Savills auction in the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London.