TQ2287 : Looking along the length of the Brent Reservoir

taken 4 years ago, near to Hendon, Barnet, Great Britain

Looking along the length of the Brent Reservoir
Looking along the length of the Brent Reservoir
When the Paddington Canal opened in 1801, the need for water to supply it became an increasingly pressing problem. Aldenham Reservoir, completed in 1795, was not sufficient and nor was Ruislip Lido, completed in the early 1800s. Plans were prepared in 1803 to bring water from the River Brent by creating a reservoir, but the amount and cost of the land required soon put an end to this scheme. However, the idea remained to take water directly from the Brent to the Paddington Canal and after an initial deferment, land was acquired for a canal feeder to run from the Brent at Kingsbury to the canal at Lower Place near Harlesden.

The Canal Feeder opened in 1811, but this alone was not enough to solve the problems of water supply, particularly when the Regent's Canal opened eastwards from Paddington in 1820. Accordingly the Regent's Canal Company began construction of the Brent Reservoir in 1833 in an area of grazing land on either side of the River Brent and the Silk Stream. A dam was to be constructed across the River Brent a short way downstream from its confluence with the Silk Stream, and the reservoir would fill naturally behind this. The Brent Reservoir was substantially completed by 1835. This is confirmed by a tablet on the wall of Old St Andrew's Church in Kingsbury recording the death by drowning of four brothers of the Sidebottom family of Mount Pleasant, Roe Green, in August 1835. Three of them aged 11 to 17 were drowned whilst bathing, and the eldest brother, aged 31, drowned trying to save them.

The Canal Feeder was retained as the means of taking the water from the reservoir to the canal - see LinkExternal link

Later a small extension was added to the reservoir, the whole of the first phase being completed at the end of 1837. On the night of 16th January 1842, the dam embankment partially collapsed and the resultant surge of water drowned several people as well as livestock.

During the Second World War, an RAF flying boat was always on standby on the reservoir as Winston Churchill was using the nearby Telecommunications Research Station in Brook Road as a wartime bunker. If the Germans had invaded, the plan was that Churchill would have been whisked by car down Brook Road to the plane. He would then have been flown to Liverpool where a ship was permanently moored to take him to Canada.

The Brent Reservoir is now a peaceful place and is important for both recreation and wildlife. The Capital Ring passes along the north side, which is on the right here. A footpath leaves Cool Oak Lane and passes along the eastern edge of the reservoir, past the back gardens of the houses in Woolmead Avenue. In one or two places it is possible to reach the water, as here. The Wembley Arch can be seen in the distance.
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TQ2287, 167 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 24 June, 2015   (more nearby)
Thursday, 25 June, 2015
Geographical Context
Lakes, Wetland, Bog 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 2200 8750 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:34.3906N 0:14.4576W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 2203 8752
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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