More than water – how Silent Valley Reservoir drove the Northern Ireland economy

Phil Donald’s latest publication tells the story of the Silent Valley Dam from inception to completion.

Brenda O’Connor’s painting The Silent Valley reservoir viewed from Moolieve features on the book’s cover.
Brenda O’Connor’s painting The Silent Valley reservoir viewed from Moolieve features on the book’s cover.

The development of the Silent Valley reservoir in County Down was critical to the economic success of Belfast. The story behind it is told in a recent publication by ICE NI Past Chairman Dr Phil Donald.

The work, entitled The Silent Valley Dam: An Engineering Triumph in the Mournes relates the story of the Silent Valley Dam from the idea in 1891 to its completion in 1933. It incorporates the results of recent research, as well as photographs taken by Harold Campbell, a past chairman of ICE NI who was an engineer on the site from 1923-33.

The inspiration for the book came to Phil after he delivered talks about the Silent Valley Reservoir at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) earlier this year. Attendees suggested that Phil write up the story of Belfast's water supply and the Silent Valley Reservoir.

"I enjoyed doing this recently because it was enhanced by photographs donated to PRONI by Harold Campbell's son, Sir Antony Campbell," Phil said. "I hope the booklet may be enjoyed by engineers and others, as it tells the intriguing story of a method never used before or since in the construction of a dam."

If you would like a copy of the booklet, contact Phil Donald at Donald.cranmore@ntlworld.com.

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