Hothfield Waterworks

Photo:Godinton Lake (previously called Lady's Lake) with sluice-gate lifting gear. This was used to maintain the level in the lake, so giving adequate pressure to the water driving the pump wheel.

Godinton Lake (previously called Lady's Lake) with sluice-gate lifting gear. This was used to maintain the level in the lake, so giving adequate pressure to the water driving the pump wheel.

Rixpix 2008

Photo:Sluice-gate outfall, which gives Waterfall Road its name.

Sluice-gate outfall, which gives Waterfall Road its name.

Rixpix 2008

Photo:An example of 19th-century brickwork, this bridge channels the outfall water, which feeds the pump inlet and carries on to join the Great Stour.

An example of 19th-century brickwork, this bridge channels the outfall water, which feeds the pump inlet and carries on to join the Great Stour.

Rixpix 2008

Photo:Roof of pump house, as seen from Waterfall Road. Note the feed pipe (right) for the overshot waterwheel.

Roof of pump house, as seen from Waterfall Road. Note the feed pipe (right) for the overshot waterwheel.

Rixpix 2008

Photo:Overshot waterwheel with drive gear and twin-cylinder lift pump.

Overshot waterwheel with drive gear and twin-cylinder lift pump.

Rixpix 2008

Photo:The date plate in the pump house  (initials 'E.E.' as yet untraced).

The date plate in the pump house (initials 'E.E.' as yet untraced).

Rixpix 2008

Water power to the people of Hothfield from the 19th century to the present day

By Denny Hemming and Richard Kemp

From its source in the springs at Lenham, the River Stour meanders through fertile farms and parks towards Ashford.  Evidence still remains of the numerous mills that have taken advantage of the river's water power to support local industries, such as cereal milling and paper making. One of these is in Hothfield – Denne Mill, also known as Potters Corner Mill – which was still in use in 1967. Another is Worten Mill, technically just outside Hothfield but part of the waterworks story.

Hothfield Manor Pumphouse

Around 1851 it was recorded that the Manor was amply supplied with water by a system of tanks and pumps. The Estate, complete with outbuildings that included a laundry, was practically self-sufficient. Water was piped from a pumping house by Lady’s Lake (now Godinton Lake) to the walled kitchen gardens. The parkland between the church and The Street is called Ice House Field, as this is where ice was stored in a deep bricklined pit for use at the Manor (see Rev. Russell’s Hothfield Village History).

Hurst Hill Reservoir

When Sir Reginald Rootes bought the Manor in 1947 the water supply to the Estate was pumped each day from a spring at the back of Court Barn Field via holding tanks to Hurst Hill reservoir. This provided water for Hurst Hill and surrounding farms and cottages. The pump had to be fired up every time anyone wanted a bath. Mains water was only laid on in 1959 (see Rev. Russell’s Hothfield Village History).

Ashford Flood Alleviation Scheme

From time to time, heavy rainfall used to cause widespread flooding in the Ashford area, with floodwater from both the East Stour and the Great Stour damaging industrial premises as well as residential homes. In February 1987, Southern Water informed the Parish Council of its plans for the Ashford Flood Alleviation Scheme and Rofe, Kennard & Lapworth, consulting engineers to the National Rivers Authority, were duly commissioned to design a system of flood storage reservoirs – a £4 million project. A new earth barrier across each river now regulates the amount of floodwater passing downstream to Ashford. Some of the run-off from heavy rainfall is held back in temporary lakes behind the barriers whenever the flows exceed the channel capacities through the town. A hydrobrake on each stream outlet releases water from the temporary lakes at a controlled rate. At the time it was built, Hothfield’s hydrobrake was ‘the largest in the world’.

This page was added by Denny Hemming on 10/07/2012.
Comments about this page

Thank you for this - really interesting research & photos

By Jonathan Dance
On 08/04/2018

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