At one time there was a plentiful supply of water under Langham so that most houses had their own well or
pump or shared with a neighbour! There were a number of public pumps of which two remain. Another one
was in Well Street, still there in 1961.
In many houses water was piped from the well to a hand pump in the kitchen. One memory is “a girl having to
pump for ages when her sister was having a bath”.
Some houses had large tanks in the ground, ten to fifteen feet in diameter, to store rainwater several of these
still to exist. More than fifteen functioning wells remain some complete with pumps. Others were filled in
either for safety reasons or because of pollution.
Extracts from Parish Council Minutes:
District Council asked to repair Well Street\Melton Road pump
Medical Officer of Health reports “unsanitary” condition of Langham because drainage defective.
A fatal case of diphtheria occurred where insanitary privy pits were close to dwellings. The Medical
Officer of Health recommended abolition of privy pits and bringing into use a “Tub System” of pans
with efficient “scavenging”.
Wells to be inspected and alterations to be made by owners to bad ones.
Further analyst report on the state of wells. Oakham Water Co. to be asked for terms for a supply.
At the July meeting it was decided that the cost of a piped water system and sewerage scheme
considered to be too high. It was resolved that wells must be cleaned out and “puddled”
At a meeting of owners (thirty) and ratepayers (fifty-five) to discuss a new sewerage scheme, it was
stated that the capital cost would require £5,000 to be raised at 4% over 40 years. The Midland
Railway Company Rating Surveyor said that a penny rate would produce £15 13s 2d, and that an
increase of 2s 8d in the pound would be required to cover loan repayment and running costs, which
is out of the question as the village is poor. The scheme included “8½ acres to spread sewerage,
which would in certain winds create a stench far in excess of that at times arising from the brook”.
It was proposed that Dr Farrar’s recommendation for pans should be adopted. Among the reasons
for turning down the scheme, it was stated that recent deaths from influenza were caused by
pneumonia and not insanitary conditions. Health of village people was good, with forty over sixty
years, twenty-seven over seventy, one over eighty and two over ninty.
A superintendent was appointed in 1911 at an annual salary of £2.
The scavenger was paid £1 10s per week in the 1930’s.
Unsatisfactory condition of pump near memorial gun site - the sole water supply to many at this end
of village. (This pump fell into disrepair and was eventually removed to await repair. The pump was
rebuilt in 1976, the water tested following the pumps reinstatement was found to contain a very high
lead content and a high number of coliforms).
Complaints regarding scavenging: insufficient pans in use and contractor was not using disinfectant.
New Scavenger appointed and all now satisfactory. A trial bore-hole to be made in land off Cold
Overton Road to find water for a piped supply.
At some date unknown (after 1925) water was supplied from the Owen Hugh Smith farm to some houses, at first
from a tank on Manor farm fed by a wind pump, and later from a reservoir on the hill north of the farm (which
still exists), fed by another wind pump. An electric motor-driven pump came later, pumping from a bore hole.
In 1954 a resident of Langham paid £1 a year for the supply.
The reservoir was also connected to another reservoir on Manor Lane which supplied the Brewery. A piped
sewage system and piped mains water was finally installed to the whole village in 1956. One villager recalled
“the thrill of walking downstairs first thing in the morning and being able to turn on a tap instead of having to
go out to the well for a bucketful”.
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