History The Story of the Trust
Coate Water Swindon in the 19th century

Coate Reservoir (March 1872)

The pubic is requested to take notice that the canal company having let the reservoir to Mr W. Fox no (entrance) tickets will in future be issued at the canal office or by the committee.

W. Fox begs to inform his friends and the public that he has placed on the reservoir a large stock of first class pleasure boats and fishing punts and parties requiring a few hours pleasant recreation, either boating or fishing will find they can enjoy themselves at the reservoir on moderate terms.

Mr Fox, having made several expensive alterations for the attraction of the public will in future make a small charge of twopence per head to visitors, but the holders of these tickets will have the cost deducted from boat hire or fishing hire, or may have the amount in cigars or refreshment.

There will be no fishing until 1st June when the fence month expires. Pleasure boats can be hired by the day or hour at moderate terms. Tea picnic and other parties can be supplied with refreshments, of the best quality, on the shortest notice, and an experienced man will be kept for taking ladies on the water.

Any person trespassing within the boundary fence will be prosecuted. No dogs will be allowed on the banks. Persons are therefore asked not to bring them with them or they will not be permitted through the gate. Bathing will only be permitted on terms to be agreed upon with Mr Fox, between the hours of 4 and 8 am during the summer months.

Waters break through (September 9th 1872)

On Saturday morning the culvert which conveys the water of a spring underneath Coate reservoir burst, and the water was rushing out when Mr Fox, the lessee, who fortunately happened to be passing the mouth of the culvert at the time, rushed to the latch and let it down. He then run to the other end of the reservoir and arrived in time to see the repulsed water flow out into the meadow there, but by letting down the other latch he stopped this.

Returning he saw the spot where the leak had occurred indicated by a whirlpool, the confined air in the culvert suddenly blowing the water up above the surface of the reservoir like a spout of a whale. It appears to be the most serious leak that has happened for years occurred and is no doubt caused by the brickwork of the culvert settling down, the foundation being upon a kind of bog or quicksand.


(Originally published in July 1838)

Frequently during the summer months of the last three or four years, select parties of the gentry of the town and neighbourhood of Swindon have resorted to the reservoir, a fine sheet of water about two miles distant from the town and nearly seventy acres in extent.

It is generally allowed that some of the finest scenery that nature ever formed surrounds this spot and greets the eye which way soever you turn. It would be almost an impossibility to select a place where the words of the poet, where he says, "Fair nature spreads a rich and boundless store, to charm my sight" could be more clearly and beautifully verified, or a place better calculated to spend an afternoon in an entertainment of any kind.

Pleasure boats, the property of O.C Codrington Esq, of Wroughton and other gentlemen in the neighbourhood, being kept on the lake, the powers of those skilled in rowing have been time after time put to the test, whilst waltzing and quadrilling parties form another part of the joyous scene, and grace the banks "where chestnut trees shed a twilight of gloom". The first of these assemblies for the present season took place on Tuesday 10th instant and was exceedingly well and respectably attended, and passed of with great éclat.

A repast was spread in the booths erected for the purpose, and after the party had partaken of the delicacies which it contained, dancing and water excursions commenced and continued with great spirit till "darkness began to veil the sky" when the party returned, every one apparently highly delighted with the entertainment. The Swindon band, which was proud of its superiority over every other in this part of the country, attended and played in a most excellent and tasty manner during the afternoon.

All material on this page published courtesy of the Swindon Evening Advertiser


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