Monday, July 14, 2014

A moment of luxury

Click to enlarge (Pic source)

Stow-on-the-Wold, heart of the Cotswolds and these days a tourist stop.

We grumbled about the variable temperature in the shower, yet less than 80 years ago, the town had no mains water, and modern drainage only two decades later:

"Stow was, until recent times, supplied with water from springs below the town. For centuries, women and children had carried water with yoke and bucket from the spring on Well Lane. Water carts plied between Well Lane and the town where the water was sold to the townsfolk at the price of a farthing a bucket. Several systems had been tried to force water up the hill including windmills, horse-mills and water wheels but all had failed. In 1871, Joseph Chamberlayne-Chamberlayne, lord of the manor, donated £2000 to the town for a deep well to be bored and this was a success. Mains water was laid on in 1937. Sewage disposal used numerous cavities in the rock, known locally as swillies, as natural soakaways under and around the houses until mains drainage was installed in 1958."

One of the wells on Well Lane (pic source)

We're living a life I didn't dream of as a child, driving from Birmingham to a beautiful place like this in an hour. For how much longer will many of us have cars and zoom round the country like pre-war landed gentry?

One of the charms of the town is its many little alleys (in York called snickelways). Stow's are particularly narrow and the man running the charity bric-à-brac explained that in the old times, when on market day the square might hold 30,000 sheep, the alleys made the wide-fleeced animals go in single file, which made them easier to count; hence the name of Fleece Alley.

Are we looking at the past, or the future?


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A K Haart said...

Somehow I can't see private cars as a permanent feature of human life.

James Higham said...

Ah, now that's a place I knew not and it was interesting.