Liquid Assets; Alison Jones Explores a Unique Property, Boasting Unparalleled Views of the Surrounding Areas

The Birmingham Post (England), July 15, 2010 | Go to article overview

Liquid Assets; Alison Jones Explores a Unique Property, Boasting Unparalleled Views of the Surrounding Areas


Byline: Alison Jones

Water has played a signi.cant part in in.uencing the property buying choices of Jane Sherratt and her husband Frank Wilson.

They are currently looking to move to Nottingham because their children are both promising canoe slalom athletes and there is a centre of excellence there.

But it does mean they will reluctantly have to move from their home of the last 12 years, a converted former water tower in Swynnerton, Stone, in Staffordshire.

"Heartbroken though we are to have to move, it is not the best position to be in," says Jane. "The children have been getting their coaching in Nottingham and it made more sense to relocate."

It will be an emotional parting from The Water Tower as they have poured so much into creating a spectacular home, saving a local landmark in the process.

Though they moved into the property in 1998, Jane and Frank actually bought the building in '89 after spotting it for sale in the Birmingham Post, then riding out there on their bikes on a whim.

The ornate Italianate tower was built atthe end of the 19th century, along with a similarly .amboyant pumping station. Both functional and ornate, the tower and station were made with colourful yellow and red brickwork, and high arches.

The tower used to provide water to The Potteries, but hadn't been used for several decades when they bought it.

It had fallen into disrepair and there were plans to demolish it until there was an outcry from the local villege.

It was put up for auction and the purchaser had an architect draw up plans for its conversion into a residence. Things had progressed as far as the water tank being removed before the owner decided to sell the project on.

"It was actually my father-in-law who was the architect," reveals Jane. "He didn't tell us it was on the market, we rang him.

"When we saw it we thought it was fantastic.

It was the location, you could see the whole of Staffordshire, and also because it was such a unique building. We just thought 'we have got to have this' and went for it."

The conversion project was a massive undertaking. Although Frank had done DIY work before, he had not done anything on this scale.

However, he has a degree in mechanical engineering and the couple were con.dent he would be able to solve any problems that the transformation threw up.

What they perhaps didn't anticipate was that the conversion would take nine years. "It was a bit of a weekend project while we were still living in Birmingham. It turned out to be a bigger project than we thought when we took it on.

"We also had our children in '92 and '94 and that probably prolonged things a bit but once they were coming up to school age we thought we really needed to get settled."

They were able to use the original architectural plans with just a few alterations. Frank did a lot of the work himself, including replacing rotten .oorboards .ve .oors up, walking across narrow beams to do it. …

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