101 Hacks for Late Soviet Water Towers

Talk by Ben Fitzgerald

Friday from 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM in Stage A

When I learned the news that I had somewhat accidentally become the owner of a Decommissioned, 12 Storey High, Late Soviet Era, Water Tower in Latvia: naturally my first question was 'Could I use it to prop up a Buran?' (The USSR's equivalent of the US Space Shuttle)... and If I'd have asked that question to Woking District council, then I'm guessing the answer would be a list of regulations that would contravene - but in Latvia, the answer was 'Yes, it is your tower so you can do what you like with it...' And so I had a challenge to work out what could and should be done with the tower and in very British tradition a list of 101 Hacks for a Water Tower was started, which was very rapidly joined by a sister list of 101 Ways to Kill Yourself on Water Tower. In this talk I share some of the journey of exploration into the wonderful world of Water Towers, Soviet Engineering, the Baltics, and a bit of family history. This takes us from the British Water Tower Appreciation Society to Siberia and the SS, whilst taking part in a documentary, getting involved in an Olympic bid, making music, setting up an amateur radio station, breaking records (and a drone) on the tower on the way and much more. The talk is generally light hearted, with a balance of education and amusement.


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