• Richard

Bedfordshire water supply

Following on from the analysis posted earlier, two photos of earlier systems of water supply - and information, courtesy of colleague Richard Carter, on the extent of groundwater use initially in the District.

The plaque alongside the pump reads 'The last remaining public pump in Eversholt restored by volunteer parishioners 1993/4.

Woodward & Thompson's 1909 'Water Supply of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire from Underground Sources' (thanks Richard!) tells us that there was 'water supply in Eversholt in 1884 from springs and shallow wells.'


No details of depth for that one, next door Tingrith reported that a well had been sunk 40 to 50 feet through Boulder Clay. Whereas just 5km away, Birchmoor farm, on the edge of the Woburn estate, had a well 'sunk 43 feet; the rest bored' to a total depth of 200 feet, into the 'Lower Greensand' which, presumably before pumping, had 'Water level 20 feet from top' and a yield of 240,000 gallons a day.

This source became the source for half the rural district, before Pulloxhill was developed and then Meppershall, and continues to be used to this day, the other groundwater sources, including Clophill serving Ampthill, having been decommissioned.


Going beyond handpumps, as the supply became piped, standposts became common in the villages, in conjunction with household connections for the better off. This standpost (pictured) being just outside Bolnhurst from memory, just to the north of Bedford - perhaps needing a standpost earlier than elsewhere as Woodward reports that 'ponds on boulder clay have locally been used as sources of water supply.'



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