Cochno waterworks tower


Yesterday I had a day off work. I travel around the Clydebank area as part of my work and recently had spotted this water tower in the distance, but didn’t know anything about it. My free time yesterday was therefore employed in trying to find the tower from my best guesses about its location. When I did find it,  the private approach road revealed this amazing and frankly disturbing view of the tower  and its associated, now derelict works.


The private road signage clearly said that no vehicles were permitted, so I walked the road around the building, and found this view on its other side. What a disturbing aspect this amazing building presents from every aspect. The grassy pathway provides a strong leading line to the dark, block building. (It reminds me of something darkly industrial from wartime Germany).


This shows the same side of the building from a different angle. You can see the edge of the little secluded row of houses who have this eerie backdrop to their lives. I chatted to an elderly man who was in his garden wondering why I was wandering around with my camera. He explained that the tower was not to pressurise the domestic supply but instead to provide water pressure for the treatment works. Sadly when I observed that this was an amazing thing to have on your doorstep, he said that the local youths used it as a drinking-hideaway and that that was distressing for the residents. In fact the ladders to the tower had been cut off to stop kids climbing up and further vandalising it.


Here are a few of the tower itself. I have included more than I might usually simply because the architecture is so interesting.




This last one is from the side of the building showing the view that the residents have from their back doors. All a bit depressing, however, there is something fascinating about this kind of architectural heritage and it seems sad that we couldn’t make something of it as a local heritage centre.
IMG_6309Photographically, what was interesting was the sheer simplicity of my ageing 500D with my 24mm f2.8 pancake lens. It is making me think a lot about Canon’s strategy for smaller DSLRs and just how good it would be if they would make a small rangefinder to use with the small pancake lenses. The sharpness of the pancake lens seems great.


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  • Patrick Hopkins

    Matthew, just saw your website while on some downtime. About 6/7 years ago i discovered this water tower and it’s had me captivated ever since. It’s nice to hear of someone with your eye appreciating what I thought was an amazing example of architecture gloriously untouched. I’m sure whether if it was in the middle of Clydebank or its fringes it’s decline would be accelerated, and I still belive it is.
    The story goes- from the same old man you were talking to I presume- is that in 1993/4 approx it was bought by some Iranian fellow with the intention of ‘low impact residential housing’- an old folks home- situated across from the Watertower and waterworks. All for the hansome sum of £43,000- a steal in my opinion. Occasionally he visits the area and as recent as last year he confirmed to the old man that the green light had been given for his plans to go ahead. His intention of demolishing the water tower has been shown to be more costly than renovating it. I nearly choked on my falafel when I heard about what he planned to do with it. Anyway, keep up the good work, shifts about to end! Regards

  • george smith

    Sad to say the tower is no more, I watched it being demolished today 19th October from my bedroom window

  • Pedro

    My daughter came in round about that time to say it was gone, only to say she was kidding, but there were a lot of machinery in the area, so it didn’t bode well in my opinion. Needless to say, a week later or so my worst fears were confirmed. Razed to the ground, and no one batted an eye. Not even the local newspaper, a spurious, know- nothing rag, usually known for knee jerk reactions (if recent developments in the town are anything to go by) failed to be interested in its demise. A truly tragic development in the name of ‘progress’. I though Glasgow City Council had no soul when it came to preserving identity, but West Dunbartonshire Council really have excelled themselves in ripping out an architectural icon, far more worthy of survival than the individuals who helped bring it to its knees. So long Water Tower, you were there the stuff of dreams!