Last chance to see a Lancashire treasure

Victorian marvel: The old Leyland Reservoir
Victorian marvel: The old Leyland Reservoir
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A developer is giving residents a chance a rare glimpse of an old Victorian reservoir before it disappears forever.

The old Leyland Reservoir at Clayton-le-Woods will be opened up to the public for a couple of weeks before it disappears to make way for more 14 new homes on the site.

The reservoir – constructed to hold about 300,000 gallons – was built in 1884 to provide storage for clean water for Leyland. It is the oldest and last surviving example of brick vaulted reservoir construction in the area.

Most of the reservoir, which is on Back Lane, is below ground level and there is little above ground to show that it even exists.

Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society tried unsuccessfully to save parts of the reservoir for posterity.

But now develoepr Kingswood Homes has agreed to open a side wall to allow the public inside to view the Victorian reservoir.

Local historian Boyd Harris said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m sure people will be interested in a unique underground experience and say goodbye to the reservoir which began supplying pure drinking water to the community in 1884. Few people have seen inside. I’m just one of the lucky few.”

A spokesman for Kingswood Homes said: “Kingswood Homes have been working closely with the local archaeological society to develop a commercially viable option to retain the reservoir at Clayton-le-Woods. Due to a lack of funding this was unfortunately unsuccessful. Before any redevelopment Kingswood Homes would like to open the reservoir to the local community and schools to give people the opportunity to view it and appreciate the Victorian architecture.”