The Old Water Tower, Southwold

Look out for The Old Water Tower – it’s one of the first landmarks you’ll spot as you drive towards Southwold.  A Grade II listed building that was constructed in 1886 for the Southwold Water Company, the tank had the capacity to hold 40,000 gallons of water and was wind-powered – an innovative idea in its day. Water from the tower gradually replaced Southwold’s many domestic wells and the communal Town Pump in the Market Place. But The Old Water Tower wasn’t always a place of happy progress; on St Valentine’s Day in 1899 the resident caretaker and engineer, George Neller, was crushed to death when his coat got caught in the pumping mechanism on the third floor. 

As the town grew and demand for a good domestic water supply increased, a new Art Deco style water tower was built next to the original one in 1937, with a capacity to hold 150,000 gallons of water. The Old Water Tower was sold first to Southwold Borough Council and later to a number of different owners before being returned to the town council in 1987, for a fee of £100. After that, it was leased by the RNLI who used it as a Lifeboat Museum and the Adnams Brewery.