- Category: Special features
John Frederic La Trobe Bateman was the son of an "unsuccessful inventor" and grew up around Fairfield. He got an apprenticeship in Oldham in 1825 and started a civil engineering business eight years later that he ran single handed for the next 50 years. He visited Glossop around 1837 when he worked as surveyor on the Hurst Reservoir dam. It is said that it was at this time that he noticed how Tintwistle was ideally suited to reservoirs, and came back in 1848 to build what became the largest man-made water body on Earth; the Longdendale Chain.
In 1869 he proposed a submarine railway between England and France in an iron tube, represented the Royal Society at the opening of the Suez Canal and designed, planned or directed work in Argentina, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Sri Lanka. In 1883 he assumed the name of his grandfather , La Trobe, and he died in 1889 at his estate in Surrey leaving seven children and his wife of 48 years, Anne, the only daughter of Sir William Fairbairn.
There is a plaque commemorating Bateman at Mottram Tunnel.
John Frederick La Trobe Batemen
Pioneer – Water Engineer extraordinaire
Brought water to the taps of Tameside and Manchester by constructing the six mile long chain of Longendale Reservoirs from 1848.
At the time these became the largest reservoirs constructed in the world and Europe's first major conservation scheme.
Completed in 1877, these waters have never run dry. This plaque is located on the deepest air shaft over Mottram Tunnel, measured at some 200ft below.