Cementation Memories


Tatham History Society would be pleased to include on this page further personal reminiscences, newspaper cuttings, etc. relating to the Cementation Camp and construction of the pipeline through Tatham and Botton. Click here to contact the Society.

Extract from "This Lovely Lancashire", an article about Lowgill, from The Daily Dispatch of 2nd July 1949:

Upstart Rival

At present Lowgill is enjoying another thrill. It is on the line of the aqueduct which is to bring more Lake District water to Manchester.

A mile or two beyond the village an army of workmen are burrowing into the fells. The accents of Liverpool, London and Dublin have been heard in the Rose and Crown.

Above all, a rival village has blossomed overnight on the fells – complete with electric lighting, modern plumbing, even a cinema.

Lowgill finds this phenomenon a topic of conversation, but has shown no sign of envy or symptom of an inferiority complex.

The villages know perfectly well that the upstart will vanish one day just as quickly as it came, and Lowgill will be just where it was before, alone on the quiet fell.

Extracts from Lancashire's Fair Face by Jessica Lofthouse (Robert Hale, 1952):

I came from Slaidburn to the old Hornby road to find tremendous changes had been going on ... the grey lane linking the farms was a startling new road, cement-grouted. The fell gate on which one leaned, and lingered ... has gone. Two farmers were wall-gapping where the gate once stood. And we all stood back whilst great lorries, laden with road metal, roared by, shattering the silence of the fells ...

By the time this book is printed half Lancashire will have had the chance of seeing what a trail of upheaval a scheme like this leaves behind it. A score of Lancashire hills have to be tunnelled, and a score of valleys crossed before Manchester gets its water ...

I looked ahead for the little grey bridge on its low arch which spans Black Brook, and the looping road up The Gallery. The bridge ... is no more, superseded by a much more substantial girder structure. And gangs of men were working on The Gallery making a new road straight for the point where the Croasdale shaft is to be made. Standing on the bridge a brown-faced workman hailed me with, "Like a cup of tea, Miss?" and was bounding up the banking to get a pint mug from the van. "Jock", the others called him, a Glasgow man. A very good-looking Paddy from West Meath joined us, and a curly-headed lad who had worked on "Cementation" all over Britain. For ten minutes or so we talked of this and that - Irish problems, the tunnel, the work even now going on far beneath the Bowland fells, where men are drilling, blasting, and slowly cutting their way back into the Bowland gritstone and sandstone, sometimes progressing quickly - up to a hundred feet a day - sometimes slowed down to a painful snail's pace where the faulting of aeons has played fast and loose with the mining experts' plans. Three shifts a day - for years to come ...

Where the road went to not one of them had the remotest idea. Each day they were brought here in lorries and buses, dropped at the roadside, and when the shift was over more transport came to take them back to their hutments or billets.

We used to come into Ivah along a quiet little lane, scented in June with wild roses and honeysuckle, a sauntering way almost on the line of the Roman road from the head of Croasdale by way of Botton Head ... map in hand we have tried to follow the line of it down the valley, pondering in the middle of the lane, with never a vehicle to send us into the hedgeside. But now, fleets of coaches pass, bearing the tunnel workers to their billets or to work.

[At Birks farm] I had to cross a barren desert of excavated earth, destined to be a tunnel spoil heap; beyond the farm, activity had begun across upland pastures where bulldozers rumbled on brown embankments along the site of the aqueduct.