Ella van Melis

Ella van Melis

After 37 years working as a consultant in the field of regional economic development (biobased business, innovation, Food Tech Brainport), I now have time to focus on studying the construction of water reservoirs in the Lake District. During my studies in social (economic)geography (Radboud University Nijmegen 1976-1984), the minor in historical geography was of great interest to me.  The focus of my research is briefly indicated below. The reason I send you this email is that I am looking for a university  or contact person in England who can help me formulate a more targeted approach and who may also indicate where I can find more specific publications on this topic. The problem is that this research theme is situated on the interface between the humanities and the natural sciences and therefore has a strong interdisciplinary character. (is it geography (human, historical, physical) or history?)

Why The Lake District?  Our professor of physical geography took us on an excursion to the area in 1979 and since then I visit the area at least once a year.


The study area is subject to an interdisciplinary historical study on the construction of various water reservoirs in the Lake District between 1840 and 1970 and how this knowledge can be used in current water issues.

Thematically, this research focuses in particular on the relationship between physical basic elements, socio-economic processes and the impact on the landscape.

Research questions:

- How did the natural situation arise (0-measurement); geological basis?

- What is the reason for the construction of water reservoirs?

- How has the landscape been adapted or have the reservoirs been created?

- What effects does the construction of the reservoirs have on:

- How did this fit within the water management at that time? Regional/national

- What technological, economic, environmental, socio-cultural and/or institutional factors underlie the construction of water reservoirs?

- Lessons learned….

My research focuses on 5 reservoirs within the boundaries of the National Park.  In time, data was chosen on which the various reservoirs were built.

1. Kentmere Reservoir (1845-1848)

2. Thirlmere (1884-1894)

3. Seathwaite Reservoir (1901-1907)

4. Hawes water (1929-1935)

5. Sleddale Act (1960-1966)