Crowds gathered for the unveiling of a memorial to the men who built reservoirs near Bolton.

The monument has been dedicated to the Navvies, the foot soldiers who did the grunt work in building the Rivington reservoir system between 1847 and 1875. 

The chain of eight reservoirs was designed to provide fresh water to the burgeoning Victorian city of Liverpool, purely through gravity, and still works to this day. 

Derek Cartwright of Horwich Heritage designed the sculpture, while Roy Davies brought it to life. 

The Bolton News: Derek Cartwright of Horwich Heritage with Sir Lindsay HoyleDerek Cartwright of Horwich Heritage with Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Image: Horwich Heritage)

Having been installed earlier this month, the memorial was officially unveiled on Friday, March 22. 

Special guest at the unveiling was Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who is from just down the road in Adlington and also MP for Chorley. 

Mr Cartwright said: "We were sworn to secrecy, we couldn't tell anyone he was coming! Only myself, Roy and two people from United Utilities knew. 

"He was really, really good, it is his patch, he was born just up the road in Adlington. It was good fun, he said some really good things and stayed throughout to speak to people. 

The Bolton News: The memorialThe memorial (Image: Horwich Heritage)

"We had a good crowd, it was freezing but we probably had about 30 there, it was upbeat and quite a good day." 

Read more: The story behind the men who built Bolton's reservoirs and the monument in their name 

Read more: Rivington is like a 'mini Lake District' - the history behind the popular area

At the unveiling United Utilities spoke first, before Sir Lindsay said some words and Mr Cartwright told of the history of the reservoirs and what the Navvies did. 

Mr Cartwright added: "Even the local people don't know the history. 

"We also had a chap who came dressed as a navvy with a pick and shovel." 

The Bolton News: Sir Lindsay Hoyle cutting the ribbonSir Lindsay Hoyle cutting the ribbon (Image: Horwich Heritage)

Paul Ashcroft and Richard Allen of United Utilities helped in the creation of the memorial and used salvaged materials to create the base around the monument. 

Mr Ashcroft, United Utilities’ Catchment Controller for Rivington said: “The creation of the reservoirs was an incredible feat of engineering and nearly 150 years later they continue to play an important role in providing drinking water. 

"We were delighted to work with Horwich Heritage Centre to honour those who toiled to create the reservoirs and hope that the memorial area will be enjoyed by visitors.” 

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