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Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders

Date 2007

Event ID 610022

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


In 1710 George Sorocold, a hydraulic and mining engineer from Derby, was commissioned by the 6th Earl of Mar to advise on the drainage of his coal mines at Sauchie north of Alloa. Sorocold recommended that the reservoir with its earth embankment which had been rebuilt by the Earl as early as 1694, now known as Gartmorn Dam (NS99SW 90.3), and which was fed with water from a small burn, should have its power capacity increased by means of a substantial additional feeder from Forest Mill on the River Black Devon about two miles to the east.

A lade from the west end of the reservoir supplied water for a waterwheel which drove the pumps at the mines and, later, a colliery winding engine. Downstream the water was again used by various mills and gave Alloa a degree of industrial prominence such that by 1791 there were four mills grinding wheat, barley, oats and rye. The water finally featured in the Earl’s pleasure grounds around Alloa Tower near the Forth before being dammed again to provide a scour, via a stone flume, to clear the former harbour of silt.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.

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