Remembering Yorkshire’s waterworks pioneers – on an 850kg stone plaque

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A HEAVY piece of Yorkshire history has been saved for posterity after a two-day lifting operation.

A hand-carved stone plaque weighing 850kg and dating back to 1854 has been placed on a plinth at Ogden Water, near Halifax, having previously been hidden from view at the mouth of a tunnel which held all of the reservoir’s pipes.

Yorkshire Water is finishing work to strengthen the 140-metre tunnel which runs under Ogden reservoir. Had it not been moved it would now be buried under tonnes of earth.

Project manager Tom Cochrane said: “We don’t really know much about the plaque. It features John the Baptist, a popular reference in Halifax architecture and a feature of the town’s coat of arms, as well as Halifax Waterworks – the company that built the reservoir – the name of the mayor at the time, Josh Appleyard and a credit for the reservoir’s designer, John Frederick Bateman.

“If anyone else can fill in the gaps about its history we’d love to hear from them.”

The team had to use an eight-tonne excavator to lift it from the place it had stood for nearly 160 years.

The reservoir, originally built to supply water to Halifax, was designed and constructed by John Frederick Bateman, an engineer from Bradford.