Conduit Head, Eltham
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005550
Date first listed: 20-Sep-1956
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: Greenwich (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 43597 74202
Eltham Palace conduit head, 52m north-east of Holy Trinity church.
Reasons for Designation
The provision of clean water has been seen as a public responsibility since early times. The earliest water-supply systems in Britain were built during the Roman period. Aqueducts supplied civil and military centres from wells, springs and impounded sources. Medieval water systems were constructed for monasteries as early as the twelfth century, and similar conduit systems were built for some medieval towns. Early supplies depended on gravitational flow from a spring to a conduit head. Conduits were pipes or channels used to convey and transport the water. Where a head of water was brought up to the surface it was accessed through a conduit head. Some conduits, such as that at Exeter in the 14th and 15th centuries, were laid underground, whilst others, such as Wells, ran in the street.
Despite some later repair work and alterations, Eltham Palace conduit head survives well. It formed a significant part of the water supply system to Eltham Palace and provides an insight into 16th century construction techniques and engineering. As a monument accessible to the public it provides a useful educational and recreational resource, which is of historical interest for its association with the Royal Palace.
This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 March 2015.
The monument includes a 16th century conduit head surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated on a gentle south-facing slope adjacent to Holy Trinity Church in Avery Hill Park.
The conduit head is a red-brick structure with a sunken four-centred arch opening forming the entrance to a chamber with a pointed barrel vault. The brickwork has been patched and buttressed in places. The interior of the main chamber includes three arched openings in the west wall and two in the east wall. One of these leads along a vaulted passage to a square chamber with a low brick dividing wall forming a tank. The conduit head contained a sluice and tank to control the flow of water from springs to Eltham Palace via a pipe under the moat.
The upstanding remains of the conduit head are listed at Grade II.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: LO 48
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
NMR TQ47SW47. PastScape 1463808. LBS 396506
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing