Water for the Barbican Estate

“The approximate head of water available on the site is 100 ft. Local storage of water will be needed in each block of flats calculated on the basis of 50 gallons per day.”

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, Architects “Barbican Redevelopment” April 1959

Mains water

The approximate head of water available on the site is 100 feet. (‘Head of water’ means the height water will reach by water pressure alone.) Above 100 feet, mains water is supplied via a pumped or ‘boosted’ main.

Stored water

In terrace blocks, storage tanks in each block provide flats with water for bathrooms, toilets and hot water supplies. Enough water is stored in each building to supply 50 gallons to every flat. The water is stored in tanks on the roof with down service pipes to the draw-off points. The

In tower blocks, 10,000 gallons of water are stored in the basement. Pumping equipment raises it to subsidiary storage tanks on some intermediate floors. From there, it falls by gravity to flats below when a tap is turned on.

(Drinking water is solely from the rising mains and supplied to the kitchen tap only. In upper floors of towers – above the 100 feet limit for the head of water – the mains water is supplied by a boosted main – i.e a pump.)