19 May 1879, Presbyterian Church foundation stone laid by Sir Walter Frere, New Main Road.
19 May 1881, First sod turned for the new Newton reservoir by Moses Cornwall.
(Pictured is the reservoir wall in 1899 being used by the Royal Artillery during the siege, and a reservoir wall remnant near the current reservoir).
The Newton Reservoir
It was the Mayor of Kimberley in 1881, Moses Cornwall, (pictured), who shoveled the first sod in the building of the original reservoir that supplied Kimberley. This reservoir was basically where the Hoffe Park and Griqualand West rugby HQ is today.
Construction of the works commenced in 1881 and the first trial pumping took place on 25 October 1882. Water was successfully pumped to Kimberley on 21 December 1882. The mining companies of Kimberley were supplied with water on 3 January 1883 and the town from 1 March 1883. The Kimberley Borough Council was notified on 11 April 1883 that the works were complete and in running order.
A brief history of the supply of water to Kimberley:
In 1880 a Company named the Griqualand West Railway and Water Company was formed for the purpose of building a railway between Kimberley and the Vaal River, the intention being that the blue ground from the mines would be conveyed to suitable sites along the banks of the river to be treated. Later it was decided that it would be a better plan to bring the water to the mines and at the same time supply the various townships with water. In pursuance of this project the Waterworks Company was formed to take over the rights of the first company.
Contracts for the supply of the necessary machinery as well as the construction of the pipeline were awarded in London. The main pipeline between the river and the circular reservoir at Newton was at the time of its construction considered a novel feature of waterworks infrastructure. The reason for this was twofold: firstly on account of wrought iron instead of cast iron pipes being used to minimize the cost of transport, and secondly on account of the introduction of a specially designed loose collar joint which proved very successful and became widely known as the “Kimberley Collar.”
The pumping equipment was all steam powered and had a capacity of approximately eight megalitres per day. The river water was settled at Riverton, pumped to the Newton Works, purified in town and then distributed. This system lasted until 1940.