Secret Carshalton was invited to crawl through a Wandle Spring Head. It’s on private land owned by the Sisters of The Cross of Liège, and maintained by the Friends of Carshalton Water Tower. An area better known as the grounds of St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls.
Having grappled with the rusty lock (thanks WD 40) our small group of intrepid explorers donned hard hats and made their way inside.
At the large arched entranceway is a well which is currently used to measure the water depth using a lead line (a lead weight attached to a thin line). The line went down at least 15 feet.
Behind this are three smaller arches, with tunnels that go back about 40 feet, with two other shorter tunnels leading off each side.
The exact purpose of these 5 tunnels is unclear. The main brick structure is maybe dated around 1700, part of which helped create a border for the ornamental lake. At the end of each tunnel is a fairly decorative mix of brick, chalk and flint, possibly the edges of an even older enclosure for the Spring Head.
Interestingly, on the 17th-century Arundel map the lake is large, and more substantial than the current Carshalton Ponds.
Found this interesting or want to add more, we’d love to hear your comments below. It also helps to keep all feedback from across social media, in one place. The Spring Head is not open to the general public. The Water Tower and Hermitage is open throughout the year. For more info please view our what’s on guide for the latest dates or visit the Carshalton Water Tower website. Thank you to the Friends of Carshalton Water Tower for arranging this special tour.
Read and see more about the Hermitage itself here: