Memories call to mark Scar House reservoir

Yorkshire Water and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are calling for memorabilia of Scar House reservoir, in order to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 9:03 am

At its outset, the site was seen as one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects in Britain.

Lisa Harrowsmith, lead surveyor at Yorkshire Water, said: “We would love to hear from you if you have family members who were involved in the construction at Scar House, or were affected by it.

“We’re looking for stories, photographs and any memorabilia relating to the construction or early years of the reservoirs life, to help us celebrate its 100th anniversary.”

Scar House was the focal point of the Nidd Valley reservoir scheme and a temporary village called Scar was built to house the 1.250-strong workforce and their families during the construction of the reservoir (1921-1936).

The village had luxuries like flushing toilets and a 600-seat cinema, tennis courts, fire brigade, hospital and fish and chip shop. A 13-mile light railway from Pateley Bridge was also installed.

Alderman A Gadie, Chair of the Bradford Water works committee overturned an original plan to have two smaller reservoirs and pushed for the construction of one larger reservoir at Scar House, later known as Gadie’s Folly, which has a capacity of 2,200 million gallons.

The reservoir is a key water source and is owned by Yorkshire Water, who manage surrounding land for its Beyond Nature™ programme.

The scheme aims to protect the Yorkshire landscape for future generations, by playing a key role in tackling climate change and supporting sustainable land management.

Lisa Harrowsmith, lead surveyor at Yorkshire Water, said: “The world is very different to when work began to build Scar House 100 years ago but despite the reservoir’s age, it continues to play a key role in the water process.

“We’re investing in the reservoir by adopting our Beyond Nature™ approach for the land around it and adding innovative new ways of managing the water that feeds it, for the benefit of our customers.”

Elizabeth Bishop, Information Officer at Nidderdale AONB, said: “As the village buildings were sold off and dismantled in the 1930s, nothing much remains of this special place.

“It would be fantastic if more information came to light on this anniversary to help tell more of its fascinating story.”

As part of Nidderdale AONB’s £1.8 million Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership project (2014-2019), supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, new interpretation panels were installed to help bring the history of the village of Scar to life.

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