Gawthorpe Water Tower granted listed building status after campaign backed by hundreds of local residents

A landmark Wakefield water tower has officially been added to a list of protected buildings, following a campaign by hundreds of local residents.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 7:00 am
Gawthorpe Water Tower has officially been added to a list of protected buildings, following a campaign by hundreds of local residents.
Gawthorpe Water Tower has officially been added to a list of protected buildings, following a campaign by hundreds of local residents.

Gawthorpe Water Tower has stood watch over surrounding towns and villages for almost a century.

Built in the 1920s, it was used to store drinking water for the nearby village of Gawthorpe and surrounding areas until 2006, and was later adapted to host telecommunications equipment.

Its future was thrown into doubt earlier this year, when owners Yorkshire Water announced they could no longer afford to maintain the tower.

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But, thanks to a campaign backed by hundreds of local residents, the tower has now been granted Grade II Listed status by Historic England, meaning it cannot be demolished or altered without special permission.

Speaking earlier this year, Chris Burley, who launched the campaign to save the tower, said: “We originally planned to paint the tower, but after finding out it needs substantial repairs that isn’t possible so now we will save it.

“I will do anything I can to keep the tower alive and everyone wants to see it restored.

“Everyone knows when you drive down the M1 and you see the tower you’re home, it is iconic.”

Confirming the addition of the tower to their list, Historic England said: “Gawthorpe Water Tower is a distinctive concrete structure in West Yorkshire that can be seen for miles around.”

They also praised the tower’s “strikingly elegant neoclassical design” and said it “compared favourably” with other towers of a similar style and age.

Recognised across Wakefield, Gawthorpe Water Tower was constructed between 1922 and 1928 as part of the nearby Pildacre Waterworks, which have since been demolished.

But the tower remained in use until 2006, continuing to store water for nearby villages.

Standing at a height of 55 metres, it can be seen for miles around, and is considered by many to be a local landmark.

It has been flooded with festive lights in the runup to the Christmas season.

Campaigners now hope to use the tower’s listed status to secure additional funding to help restore and repaint the tower.