Around 1902 Whaley Council had a reservoir built at Diglee, Furness Vale. It was a cement lined structure and held 247,000 gallons of water. This was filled by springs and water from Stoneheads Reservoir. The lands were obtained from Colonel Cotton Jodrell, Lord of the Manor. The works in total were estimated to cost £7,000. (Incidentally the reservoir at Diglee was filled in a few years ago and was recently sold at auction on behalf of United Utilities for £17,000). A 7 inch main was laid from this new reservoir to supply Whaley Bridge.
To celebrate the new water supply a fountain was commissioned and was positioned below the Station Approach.
The local dignitaries all arrived for the formal opening of the fountain (the switch on); Mr Mellor, Vice Chairman to the Council informed the gathering that Mr G R Brady JP had been selected to effect the turn on. The fountain was decorated with greenhouse plants, flowers and shrubs. There was a large attendance at the opening, and photographs were taken by Mr Jackson and Mr Exley from the upper window of Mrs M. Bennett's refreshment rooms.
The mood was also very sombre as news had just arrived that the King was in poor health. The gathering prayed that God would save the King and comfort his consort in her sad trouble.
The good Councillor said: "They ought to be grateful to Col. Cotton-Jodrell for the price he was letting them have the water at. They had been to Diglee and seen what the water was there, and had to pay £25 per annum to Col. Jodrell for it, and he could tell them that if they paid 1d. per thousand gallons the price in rental would amount to between £90 and £100 a year. Their thanks were due to Col. Cotton-Jodrell for the very liberal manner in which he had treated them".
Mr Brady then turned the water on at the fountain, the bowl of which was artistically supported by birds, and five spray jets were released. Mr J. Carter led the singing, and there was much applause at the conclusion.
Refreshments were served at The Mechanics where the group were joined by the dignitaries from Horwich End, who had opened their fountain at the same time, for photographs.
Horwich End Fountain
The source of the water supply to Horwich End and Fernilee was from wells sunk upon lands purchased from Miss M.A. L. Grimshaw and Mrs A.G. Preston, and the reservoir, which held about 1,250,000 gallons, was constructed at Lea Head upon land purchased from Colonel Cotton Jodrell. The reservoir was not completed on time but water supplies were already to be had directly from the springs.
The population to be supplied was 1680.
The dignitaries met at the Mechanics for refreshments after which the party were driven in brakes to Overhill Farm on the Errwood estate, where at Toll Bar Clough Mr Sterling explained the works in connection with the Fernilee and Horwich End scheme.There were deep wells sunk, and the water percolated through the strata, but never formed itself into a stream until they had sunk these wells. The water came in every direction; 50,000 gallons in 24 hours. There was no chance of contamination, and it was led clean away to their reservoir 1½ miles distant. They stored the water 40 feet below the level of these wells. The second well was then visited, and, next, the reservoir that is in progress of formation.
Upon arrival at Horwich End Doctor Nall called upon Col. Hall to declare the works open. At the rear of the fountain, were the words "Long live our noble King," in white lettering on a red ground. Mr Huntington superintended the decoration of the fountain, which was greatly admired. There was a large concourse of people assembled there, and Col. Hall said it was a very great honour to be asked to turn on the water there, an event which would, he thought, prove to be of great interest and importance to the neighbourhood.
He referred to the feelings of deep sympathy with the King in his illness, the knowledge of which latter was a wet blanket upon their proceedings, though it did not interfere with that function, which had been long since arranged to take place. Col. Hall then turned the water on amid cheers, and a verse of the National Anthem was sung.
The party then proceeded to the Mechanics' Institute, outside which building Mr Jackson, of Whaley Bridge, photographed the gentlemen of the authorities interested.
26 June 1902.
Councillors, contractors and prominent residents outside the Mechanics’ Institute after the ceremony of opening the Waterworks
Crowds on the Station/Jodrell Approach above the Whaley Fountain.
“After the successful switch-on luncheon was served at the Mechanics and then the festivities continued in Horwich Park where the main event was a tug of war contest between a team from the Waterloo Coalpit and a team consisting of members of the Order of Buffaloes. The miners won a keen contest.
A pole-climbing contest showed that there were some fine climbers among the boys of the district. Much amusement was caused by a race among the married women, several of whom, in their eagerness to reach the finishing post, fell and could go no further.
Councillor Ashmore gave Col. Colles 50yds start in a 100yds race, but Col. Colles was handicapped by carrying Lieut. Saxby on his back. Much amusement was caused by Councillor Ashmore being left hopelessly behind. A very pleasant evening was brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.”