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Walthamstow Wetlands

Brown Brindle bricks, Brown Brindle special bricks, Staffs Blue bricks, Ketley quarry tiles and Brown Antique Dreadnought clay roof tiles

Architect - Witherford Watson MannWalthamstow wetlands

A unique site in the Lee Valley, comprising 10 reservoirs that provide drinking water to 3.5 million Londoners has been transformed into one of Europe’s largest urban Wetland nature reserves.  It is a collaborative project between Thames Water, LB Waltham Forest and London Wildlife Trust, that has set out to conserve the hidden heritage here and allow free public access to this unique landscape, formally Walthamstow Reservoirs.

Brown Brindle bricks and bespoke staffs red swift boxes at Walthamstow Wetlands new tower A striking new 24m high “swift tower”, designed by Witherford Watson Mann architects, uses Ketley Brown Brindle Class A facing bricks on the listed Victorian Engine House, replacing the old chimney which was demolished in the 50’s.  The chimney contains 54 specially installed bespoke red clay swift boxes (also crafted by Ketley) to encourage the nesting of urban swifts, providing them with multistorey accomodation  for their summer breeding in the UK whilst also signifying the change of the site from infrastructure to ecology.








Staffs blue bricks in a flemmish bond at Walthamstow Wetlands Sustainability and ecology lie at the heart of this project, and it is fitting that a wide selection of Ketley’s products have been used here, as well as Dreadnought roof tiles.  They were all carefully selected by the architects to preserve this exceptional industrial heritage.   Here Ketley Staffs Blue bricks have been laid in a flemish bond beneath the original Victorian brickwork of the old pumping house.

In order to provide free public access to this Nature Reserve,   the project has included the creation of a café and visitors centre with a viewing deck which will be available for hire for private events in order to generate revenue.  The cafe, engine room, turbine room and toilets have all been tiled with Ketley quarry tiles on the floor. 

Ketley Quarry Tiles Restoration of Old Engine Rooms at Walthamstow Wetlands


The building has been reroofed with Dreadnought’s brown antique roof tiles. Architects, Witherford Watford Mann were keen to preserve the distinctive look and history of the buildings and they therefore "treated the project with a light touch".  Dreadnought and Ketley's traditional clay building products with their natural clay colour have fitted this brief well. 

A range of Ketley products were used on this restoration project at Walthamstow Wetlands

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"Ketley Bricks have a natural beauty and surface quality which makes their colour appear to change in different weather conditions," Stefan Mannewitz, Project Architect at Karakusevic Carson Architects