Southend Waterworks Company Houses in Thundersley, Essex

There were three residential properties built in the early 1900’s by Southend Waterworks Company in Thundersley, Essex, which were associated with the reservoir and two pumping stations. Using census, electoral and various other records I have discovered the names of the first few occupants of these three properties.

Click on a name to find out more about them, or use the menu on the right.

Reservoir Cottage was the property associated with Burches Reservoir (bottom right on map below).

The first residents were:

Pumping Station House (also called Pumping Station Cottage and Waterworks House) on Great Burches Lane was the property associated with Burches Pumping Station (top right on map below).

The first residents were:

Pumping Station Cottage was the property associated with Thundersley Pumping Station (left on map below).

The first residents were:


Maps reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

All three Waterworks properties in Thundersley appear to have been built to the same design.


Southend Waterworks Company submitted a Bill to Parliament in 1893 (for their 1894 session) to extend their water supply into Thundersley, by the construction of a two pumping stations and a reservoir. The Bill below outlines exactly what they intended to to, and even includes the names of land owners and their current occupiers:

2. To authorise the Company to make and maintain the works following or some or one of them or parts thereof respectively, to be wholly situate in the said county of Essex (that is to say):-

(1) A pumping station. (No. 1) with a well or wells, shafts, drifts, standages, borings, and other works and conveniences connected therewith, to be wholly situate in the said parish of  Thundersley, in a field Cumbered 86 on the a 1/2500 ordnance map of that parish, and belonging or reputed to belong to Thomas Jenner Spitty and in the occupation of John Frederick Talbot.
(2) A line or lines of pipes (No. 1) commencing at or in the intended pumping station (No. 1) and terminating in the parish of Eastwood, at or in the Company’s pumping station known as the Oakwood pumping station now in course of construction, which said intended line or lines of pipes (No. 1) will be made or pass from, in, through, or into all or some of the parishes, townships, and places of Thundersley, Dawes Heath, Hadleigh, and Eastwood.
(3) A pumping station (No. 2) with a well or wells, shafts, drifts, standages, borings, and other works and conveniences connected therewith, to be wholly situate in the said parish of Thundersley, in a field numbered 27 on the said ordnance map, and belonging or reputed, to belong to Alfred Darby, and in the occupation of James Thorrington the younger.
(4) A line or lines of pipes (No. 2), to be wholly situate in the said parish of Thundersley, commencing at or in the intended pumping station (No. 2), and terminating by a junction with the intended line, or lines, of pipes (No. 1) in the public road leading from Thundersley parish church to the Village of Thundersley at a point 6 chains or thereabouts measured along the said road in a north-easterly direction from the White Hart Inn in Thundersley.

The reservoir (aka service tank) was first mentioned in a Bill from 1897:

“A service tank (No. 1), to be wholly situate in the said parish of Thundersley, in the rural district of Rochford, in a field numbered 70 on the 1/2500 Ordnance Map (second edition, 1896) of that parish, and belonging, or reputed to belong, to Ernest Meanley, and in the occupation of James Thorrington.”

I have edited the text from 1890 and 1893 into single pages for ease of reading. You can view the original pages (and many others) on The Gazzette.


A newspaper article from June 1898 stated the sinking of a well in Thundersely was underway, but unlikely to be finished until the following June. Both pumping stations within Thundersley were finished on time and began pumping in 1899. On 12th July 1902 Southend Waterworks employees, family and friends were invited to a rare treat at the bottom of the not quite finished Thundersley Reservoir to hear the Thundersley Brass Band play there. It must have be quite a spectacle!


Newspaper articles reproduced with the permission of the British Newspaper Archive and The British Library Board


Reservoir Cottage

Reservoir Cottage was the property associated with Burches Reservoir, twin 3 million gallons tanks, and built at the bottom right of the section of field bought by the Southend Waterworks Company. The land west of the reservoirs was sold off for housing c.1953, and Reservoir Cottage became 15 Common Approach, now found just before the corner semi’s by Prestwood Drive. The eastern reservoir was filled in and land sold off for development in the 1990’s, but the western reservoir remains, as does the water tower built in the 1960’s.

The first residents were:



Pumping Station House

Pumping Station House (also called Pumping Station Cottage and Waterworks House) on Great Burches Lane was the property associated with Burches Pumping Station.

The first residents were:



Pumping Station Cottage

Pumping Station Cottage was the property associated with Thundersley Pumping Station (aka No.7), which was first pumped in 1899. The house is now known as 17 Chancel Close, the pumping station having been closed and demolished in the 1940’s or early 1950’s and the land built on for housing.

The first residents were: