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Thread: Water Tower, RAF North Witham, Lincolnshire, May 2019

  1. #1
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    Default Water Tower, RAF North Witham, Lincolnshire, May 2019


    1. The History
    RAF North Witham is a former World War II airfield in Lincolnshire, England. The airfield is located in Twyford Wood, off the A1 between Stamford and Grantham. It opened in 1943 and was used by both the RAF and US Army Air Forces. During the war it was used primarily as a transport airfield. It was allocated to the USAAF Troop Carrier Command in August 1943. Its immediate task was to distribute transport aircraft and the means of maintaining them to operational groups of the USAAF. USAAF C-47 maintenance repair activities continued at North Witham until May 1945, albeit on a reducing scale.

    After the war it was closed in late 1945. The site was originally partially wooded and some of this remained to the northeast of the runways throughout the military period but after closure, the Forestry Commission planted most of the airfield with oak (Quercus robur) and conifers. Part of it is now a reserve for butterflies and the concrete is slowly being broken up and removed. Outlines of large numbers of loop dispersal hardstands can be seen in aerial photography, with the perimeter track being reduced to a single lane road.

    2. The Explore
    Walked the runways and explored the old watchtower and a while back but never got around to the water tower as it is quite a bit south of the watch tower. Hence a revisit was always on the cards. Very little info about the water tower and no pictures that I could find. Having parked up, I hopped the barb-wired gate followed the treeline and arrived at the coppice that has now engulfed the water tower. Itís fenced off but having negotiated that found that the metal ladder was caged and locked at the bottom. Perhaps with a bit of perseverance and if I hadnít been on my tod, I could have got around it and up there. Once past that obstacle you can get right up to the top of this impressive water tower. One for next time. Previous report HERE.



    3. The Pictures

    Didnít go back to the watch tower:

    img7795 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img7811 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Or walk the runways this time:

    img7824 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Headed straight for the water tower:

    img0898 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not sure if this dates back from WWII:

    Watertower 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The water tower peeps out of the trees:

    img0897 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Full frontal:

    Watertower 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The old depth measure:

    img0895 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Pipping rusting away:

    img0893 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0891 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The reason I couldnít get up:

    img0888bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0885 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0882bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0878 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0896 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: KPUrban_, krela, Mearing, noiseboy72, psykie, Romford Reject, Rubex, Sausage, The Wombat, theartist
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  4. #2
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    Very nice, the ladder shot is ace
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    You know those moments when your brain connects two places after the rusty gears have been stuck? Mine just did that!
    There's an almost identical tower near the old RAF Morpeth (Tranwell) airfield. The Tranwell one is basically two separate tanks with a narrow gap in the middle for access to the roof.
    For all these years I've known that the Tranwell tower is a private water supply for some nearby houses - I hadn't realised it was far older and from the airfield lol. Oh dear I slipped there!

    Water towers fascinate me. They're basically exposed engineering. The one in your pics - must be close to 200 tons of water when full and yet stood on spindles for supports. It worked though and still stands many decades later.
    I'm wondering - is this tower still in use too? The fact that the ladders are locked off tells me it is. At Tranwell the residents got so annoyed they had the ladders cut away at about half way up because some people were climbing it and being stupid.

    Interesting stuff that.
    I suspect that shelter is original too. Looks like asbestos sheeting? If so there must be a reason why metal wasn't used for it? Prevention of sparks perhaps?

    As a side note: About 12 years ago I put sealed bids in to buy an old concrete water tower in Northumberland. I wasn't madly keen on the purchase (lack of parking) and so kept my offers low. In the end it sold to a couple from London - that's all I can find out. It was bought by them as an investment. I guess when water tower conversions were all the rage but this one is more like a lighthouse shape and not wide.
    The tower still stands and is untouched and has never been entered. Whoever bought it either ran out of money of have vanished.
    A possible explore for passing people perhaps...
    Full of meaty goodness.

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Love how it hasn't been destroyed by twats or councils,maybe more local authorities should take a leaf

  9. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    That's cool, it looks like an old Braithwaite tank, made from identical steel pressings bolted together. Surprisingly the firm is still in business - Braithwaite Engineers

    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    As a side note: About 12 years ago I put sealed bids in to buy an old concrete water tower in Northumberland.
    Out of interest, whereabouts is it roughly, as I'm sometimes passing through the area?

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    Easier by PM. PM sent.
    Full of meaty goodness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikinGlynn View Post
    Very nice, the ladder shot is ace
    Cheers mate. Just a shame I couldn't get up it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    I'm wondering - is this tower still in use too? The fact that the ladders are locked off tells me it is.
    I don't think it is to be honest with you mate.

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    There's lots of these dotted around the country, usually hidden in wooded areas. They were used extensively at domestic sites around ww2 airfields. I always think they look great, rusting away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krela View Post
    There's lots of these dotted around the country, usually hidden in wooded areas. They were used extensively at domestic sites around ww2 airfields. I always think they look great, rusting away.

    Yup and it's making me wonder about other sites close to me here. I've probably not spotted them because of how they're hidden off to one side.
    I can think of two old airfields which need further investigation..
    Full of meaty goodness.

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    sausage where abouts you from?

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