Post Reply
User avatar
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 89159
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.


Post by Stanley »


Water engineering, the manipulation of springs and streams to direct the flow to where it is needed and save carrying heavy loads started very early on in history. Prehistoric sites have been excavated which show evidence of this but to most people, the example that springs to mind first in the Isles is the work of the Romans during their 400 year occupation. Not content with simply diverting flows, they introduced cisterns, gathering points for water, and used wooden and lead pipes to convey water from them in some cases directly into houses. Imagine what a boon that was, a constant supply of clean water running into a basin somewhere in the building. In many ways we haven't improved on that, we still do the same thing today but with the sophistication of taps and valves to control the flow and eliminate waste but essentially, it's a 2,000 year old technology.
At this point we should mention the use of water as a carriage system for getting rid of waste. The Romans understood this and used it first in buildings but the best example I know is the reredorter or necessarium at Fountains Abbey which was a communal latrine that had a flow of water diverted from the stream running under the seats to carry waste away. There was also a separate small stream of water at the front of the seats which was used for washing. With the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid 16th century this technology seemed to vanish and we weren't going to get back to a water carriage system until the mid 19th century when, with the availability of mains water in domestic properties, it came into fashion again. We still use the water carriage system.
As the number of houses increased, so did the demand for water. The nearest we got to the early Roman water engineering was to identify springs in the town and install cisterns to collect the water and there were many such 'town wells'. Some houses had their own wells, at times under the kitchen with a simple lift pump. The Vicarage built by the Reverend Milner (Now the Masonic Hall) in the late 1840s had its own well. We know this because of a complaint made when Bracewell was building New Mill, later named Wellhouse. During the excavation of a sand bed near the vicarage for building material, the vicarage well dried up and didn't run for a few years. Harold Duxbury once told me that several of the earliest cottages on Park Road had wells under the kitchen.
Some houses relied on collecting rainwater from the roof. What is now the surgery on Park Road had a large cast iron tank made by the Bracewell foundry in Burnley to store the water. Before the building was altered there were two corbels on the side of Taylforth's estate agents for a water collecting tank. The town was growing and demand for water was increasing. Something had to be done.


The two corbels on 37 Church Street, Jepp Hill, in 1983.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
Post Reply

Return to “Stanley's View”