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Glasgow's new waterworks: speech by John Frederic Bateman, engineer for Loch Katrine project, 1859

John Frederic Bateman was the engineer for the Loch Katrine water project. Below are some extracts from a speech that he made to a meeting of engineers and scientists in Aberdeen in September 1859.

The Loch Katrine aqueduct for the supply of the city of Glasogw with water, is one of the largest works of the kind which has been constructed in this or any other country, either in ancient or modern times.

The Act for the construction of this work was obtained by the municipal authorities, after much careful investigation into the best mode of improving the supply of water to the city, in the year 1855, and the works were commenced in the following Spring. The money for defraying the cost is borrowed on security of an unlimited rate upon the houses and property of the city.

The undertaking is specially distinguished by the great extent and beauty of the Higghland lakes from which the water is brought - the excessive purity of the water - the difficult and rugged character of the mountainous country through which the works for its conveyance have been constructed and the large volume of water, no less tahan 50,000 gallons per day, which will be obtained for the supply of the city.

The lochs appropriated to the purposes of the waterworks for the use of the city, and for the supply of the millowners, fisheries and other interests on the rivers from whoch the water will be abstracted are, Loch Katrine, 8 or 9 miles in length, with a surface of 3000 acres; Loch Venechar, 4 miles in length, with an area of 900 acres; and Loch Drunkie, with an area of about 150 acres; having altogether a water surface of upwards of 4000 acres, and containing the limits to which they may be raised or lowered about 1,600,000,000 cubic feet of water.

The number of people emplyed, exclusive of iron founders and mechanics, has generally been about 3000; and for the greater part of these huts and roads and all other accomodation had to be provided, the country  for the most part being of the wildest and most inaccessible description.

The works will be completed for the conveyance of water to the city within 3 and a half years of the time they were first commenced, and within the time originally contemplated, and at a total engineering cost of about £630,000, being about ten per cent beyond the parliamentary estimate, after allowing for some additional works.

Source: Mitchell Library Schools Resource on Public Health in 19th Century Glasgow