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Historic water tank structure is restored to its former glory in a Peak District village

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Historic stone built structure restored A Victorian structure that has stood for more than 140 years in a village near Bakewell has been restored by the landowner in partnership with the Peak District National Park.

The stone built structure at Manor House Farm Cottages, Sheldon, once supported a metal water tank that supplied the village with water from 1880 to 1956 when a mains water supply was installed, but the structure had since fallen into disrepair.

A £40,000 grant from Defra’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, administered by the Peak District National Park Authority, has enabled the farmer to restore the historic structure.

Suzanne Fowkes, a farm advisor for the Peak District National Park, said: “We’re delighted with the restoration of Sheldon’s water header tank structure. It’s a unique feature and serves as a visual reminder of the village’s history. Structures like this are an important part of our local cultural heritage and contribute to the character of the place.”

The water tank and stone structure was originally constructed in 1878, built by men from the village with stone provided by the Duke of Devonshire who owned most of the land at the time. Water was pumped up the steep 630 feet high hill to Sheldon, from the ‘Pot Boil’ spring next to the River Wye, through a pipeline that was more than a mile long.

Brian Greasley, a local historian, said: “Prior to the 1880s, the people in Sheldon had two options - they collected rainwater from rooftops which filled meres in the village, or they went down the hill and hauled water back up from the ‘Pot Boil’ spring several times a day by hand or horse.

“When the water tank was operational, there were numerous interruptions to the water supply, mainly due to difficulties experienced in pumping such a great distance uphill. There were many days when those living further down the main street found that there was little water left for them to use.”

John Hackett, the current owner of the water header tank structure, who farms native breed sheep, provides holiday accommodation, and is a Peak District Environmental Quality Mark holder, said: “We moved to Sheldon six years ago and finding out about the history of the village has been important to us – we feel proud of the heritage we’ve found ourselves to be the custodians of.

“Now, this piece of our village history has been lovingly restored by an expert team of stone masons under the watchful eye of the Peak District National Park Authority, and we hope that this unique historic feature will last for many decades, maybe even centuries to come.”

The restoration of the water header tank building involved a number of local specialists: Tom Sanders of Smith & Roper Architects from Bakewell drew the plans; the stonework was restored by R M Eaton Stonemasonry Ltd from Birchover.

Although there is no public access to the stone structure, interested groups are able to arrange visits in advance by contacting Manor House Farm Cottages (

John Hackett added: “In gratitude for the benefits that clean water brought to our remote little village in 1880, any interested groups who'd like to arrange a visit to Sheldon Water Header Tank Structure are requested to consider a donation to Aquabox; a locally-based charity who provide clean water kits to remote parts of the world today.”

The Hackett family held a Sheldon Water Tank Open Day to celebrate the restoration and raised enough money for Aquabox to fund a community water pump which will provide clean drinking water for up to 500 people in a disaster area.

This is an archived press release

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