Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
The Rushden Echo, transcribed by Jim Hollis
The Water Supply For Rushden

20th May 1898

Latest Developments

This day (Friday), Mr. Eunson, C.E., of Northampton, the water expert engaged by the Rushden Urban Council, met Mr. Cameron, of the Bedford district of the geological department of the Ordnance Survey, and proceeded to make an inspection of the district with a view to finding a permanent water supply for the town of Rushden. Their suggestions will be conveyed to the Council in due course.

Alluding to the water supply at the Urban Council meeting on Wednesday, Mr. John Claridge said they all regretted the failure of the trial boring, but the Council had done their best. If they had been successful at the new bore they would have obtained a pure supply of water at a much less cost than they could get it anywhere else.

With regard to the temporary supply, the pump has now been fixed, and was

In Full Working Order

by Wednesday night. By Thursday, Mr. Claridge thought, there would be at least another 30,000 gallons of water available, so that they would be able to go on for some time.

Mr. Miller asked if they had sufficient motive power to raise the water.

Mr. Claridge that was a matter of opinion. Some thought the engine would not be powerful enough. They had got it there, however, and they must test it. If they found it not sufficiently powerful, they must change it.

Mr. Miller: We have only got the engine on hire?

The Chairman: That is all.

Mr. Miller: We ought to exceed the power rather than be under it.

A letter has been received by the Council from Mr. Goosey asking for some immediate definite understanding as to the compensation to be paid to him in respect to the works in connection with the additional water supply in his field at Wymington. The Vice-Chairman was requested to see Mr. Goosey and inform him that the Council would be prepared to leave the matter of compensation in the hands of any competent valuer whom Mr. Goosey might name.

27th May 1898

Latest Particulars

Further developments have taken place since our last issue with regard to the supply of water for Rushden. A consultation has taken place between Mr. Eunson, C.E., and Mr. Cameron, of Bedford, the eminent geologist. Carrying out the instructions of the Rushden Urban Council, these gentlemen made an inspection of the district to advice as to the best site for experimental borings for a permanent supply.

Meanwhile, we are glad to state, the additional temporary supply at Wymington has turned out very satisfactory. As the town reservoir at Wymington had got low, Mr. Madin, the surveyor to the Urban Council, considered that this would be a favourable opportunity to cleanse it thoroughly. This course was adopted last Saturday, and now, with the aid of

The Additional Supply,

there is a very satisfactory quantity of water stored in the reservoir. During the week the amount has been increasing at the rate of about one foot eight inches in depth per day. Yesterday the depth was no less than eight feet two inches, and this (Friday) morning it was ten feet – the full capacity of the reservoir. The water from the temporary well is of good quality, and the water famine which at one time seemed imminent, has now happily been averted.

1st July 1898

New Scheme Propounded - Opinion Of The Experts

The experts instructed by the Rushden Urban Council (Mr. Eunson, C.E., and Mr. Cameron) have now issued their reports, which recommend the sinking of a new trial well in a field near Knuston Spinney, about 1,800 feet from the Rushden to Irchester-road, in the direction of Wymington. The reports were considered by the Urban Council in committee on Wednesday night.

Mr. Eunson says:-

“I have examined the neighbourhood of the town for a radius of from four to five miles and had the valuable assistance of Mr. A. C. G. Cameron, of the Government Geological Survey Department. From a superficial examination of the land lying to the south and south-west (with the knowledge that the porous beds of the oolites underlie the surface), it seemed that water should be met with in quantity, but upon a careful study of the geological beds it is found that overlying these oolites are stratas of drift and Oxford clay, which prevents the percolation of water from the rainfall, so that

The Only Feeding Ground

of water to these oolites lies at the outcrop bordering of the Nene.”

Having observed that the circumstances have been thoroughly discussed by Mr. Cameron and himself. Mr. Eunson states that he is quite in agreement as to the most likely situation to find water and also in the opinion that a single well cannot be expected to yield a large supply, but from the nature of the strata, additional wells at a short distance from each other would each yield its maximum, irrespective of the other, and also that headings, if found practicable, would improve the yield. Mr. Eunson proceeds:-

“Mr. Cameron also points out that water might be found on the north side of the Nene Valley in possibly a greater quantity by a

Careful Selection of Site

From the practical knowledge of Mr. Cameron, of the geological condition of the neighbourhood and my own observations in numerous sinkings and borings in the oolites, I am prepared to recommend that this advice be acted upon, more especially considering the failures which have been met with in the past searching for water. His advice is that a sinking be made on the high ground between Knuston Hall and Rushden. It is estimated that the distance to the clay will not be more than from 50 to 60 feet.

The Yield

under any circumstances cannot be expected to be great from any one well, but should the strata yield the quantity which may reasonably be expected, then headings or supplementary wells to increase the quantity could be added as the demand requires. The most economical manner in which the trial could be made would be by sinking a moderate sized shaft to the clay and testing the yield, and should that prove satisfactory then a larger and permanent well should be put down within a short distance and connected by a heading, and in this larger well the pumping machinery fixed in sound and permanent manner.

An Alternative Site

is suggested by Mr. Cameron on the other side of the Nene Valley, but this would only be resorted to in case of failure on the south side, and therefore, need not be gone into detail.”

Mr. Cameron, in his report, says:-

“Although well acquainted with the district, having mapped it for the geological survey, it was of course necessary for me to re-visit it with the special object of considering the best source of water supply. This I did on May 20th, in company with your engineer, Mr. Eunson. I also had the advantage of meeting the chairman of the Waterworks Committee (Mr. John Claridge) and Mr. Madin (the surveyor), with whom I have had full time for consultation. The Council have searched for water in the district, but have not been successful.”

Having described the

Geology

of the district, Mr. Cameron says:-

“Fairly good water, the amounts varying at different seasons, is sometimes obtained from sand and gravel patches in association with the boulder clay. By collecting these springs near Wymington, about 36,000 gallons per day have been procured for use of Rushden.

“I should certainly doubt the purity of any supply got from the

River Gravel

in the Valley of the Nene.

“The evidence afforded by the Wymington boring conclusively proves that deep-seated water from the marlstone cannot be obtained in the immediate neighbourhood of Rushden. It is needless, therefore, to further consider the question of deep boring in the district.

“Nor would it seem wise to resume operations at the abandoned well on the Bedford-road. It is extremely doubtful if any useful quantity could be got by deepening the well, enlarging the bore-hole (reported as having entered the lias) or sinking another shaft alongside. In the direct line of the dip, too, the water might receive some underflow of sewage from Rushden.

Quality of the Oolite Water

“Unpolluted oolite water is ‘excellent.’ As usual there is some temporary hardness, but this is not excessive. A frequent trouble in regions where the oolites are at the surface is the contaminated nature of the water from cesspools and sewage in populous places having

Hopelessly Poisoned

its streams and springs. But away from the building and population, the quality of the water is not likely to be other than Nature made it.

“Having due regard to the physical and geological conditions of the particular localities and sources, each upon its own merits, I have no hesitation in saying that the limestone and subjacent porous beds would yield the best local supply of water for Rushden.

“Attention should be directed to the lands lying west and north of Rushden, as affording the more extensively exposed absorbing areas.

“Of course, the

Nearest Available Site

should be considered first, when quality, quantity and other conditions are equal. I would advise sinking to a depth of 50 to 60 feet on the high ground north of Knuston Lodge, and Hall adjoining, and on the east side of Wymington Spinney.

“It is possible there, by means of a shaft and adits, to get a fairly good supply. After pumping into a tank the water would be readily led to the road for convenience of piping and distributing throughout the town.

“And I would further advise that, if this did not prove sufficient, another shaft and adits (which not only increase the supply but serve for storage also) should be tried.

West of Irthlingborough

This latter place would be more distant, and therefore more expensive, but perhaps works could be made to supply the overplus to other places. It would be best to obtain the right over both these sites at once, as the amount of water which can be obtained from any one shaft can only be determined by actual experience, and the areas from which a good supply of water may be expected within a hundred feet of the surface are by no means very numerous in the vicinity of Rushden.”

The Rushden Echo, 15th July 1898

Water Supply of Rushden - New Well To Be Sunk

The question of the water supply arose at a meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday evening.

The Surveyor reported that he had visited the wells at Knuston and Mr. Smith’s Lodge and was quite satisfied they were entirely surface.

It was reported that Mr. Eunson attended the meeting in committee on Monday and explained his views with regard to the proposed further experimental well at Knuston at an estimated cost of £50. – Mr. Wilkins moved that Mr. Eunson be authorized to at once proceed with the work and that he be also empowered to sink (if desirable)

A Further Well

near the railway at Wymington. – Mr. G. Denton seconded and it was carried. Messrs. Cave and Fountain not voting.

Mr. Spencer challenged the decision arrived at in committee and moved that the report be referred back.

Mr. Mortimer seconded.

Mr. Knight said that Mr. Eunson was of opinion that at Knuston they might get anything from 25,000 to 50,000 gallons per day. A well here would only cost £50.

Mr. Brawn said there was no need to sink a well there for that quantity of water. They could get that amount in plenty of places in Rushden.

Mr. Knight: Mr. Cameron strongly recommends this site at Knuston.

Mr. Wilkins: It is clearly our duty to provide

A Temporary Supply

until we can go in for a large scheme.

Mr. Brawn: Then let us go to a place where we are certain of a supply.

The Chairman: Don’t you think it is worth while spending £50 or £100 here?

Mr. Brawn said he did not. He advocated trying the Moors, where they knew there was water.

Mr. Denton said that in the face of the opinions of the experts and the expressions of the Local Government Board they were bound to sink a trial well at Knuston, though he had very little hope they were going to find anything like a permanent supply there. Mr. Eunson was of the same opinion, but he advised the well as an experiment. Mr. Eunson thought they might get water there. If they could not, then they would not get it anywhere near Rushden. If there was a sufficient quantity of water there which would supplement what they had already got and would last the town for several years, it might be desirable to adopt that in preference to going in for a larger and

More Costly Scheme

which, failing this, it seemed to him, lay in front of them. Certainly he was very much disappointed with the report of the experts as he had hoped they would find a scheme which would give something like an adequate supply for Rushden. If they had to fetch water for a distance of several miles there was a large scheme before them.

Mr. Mortimer: How deep would you go?

The Chairman: Fifty-feet.

Mr. Mortimer: And if you don’t get it then, would you go still lower?

The Chairman: That depends.

Mr. Skinner: I don’t think 50 feet will be any good. I think you must go down at least 70 feet.

Mr. Wilkins said he should hesitate before going in for

A Big Expense

by going a great distance until they had exhausted the neighbourhood. Even if they went in for a larger scheme it would take at the least four years, and they could not do without water until then.

A suggestion having been thrown out that a supply might be obtained from the River Ouse at Sharnbrook,

Mr. Brawn said he thought the Nene was as good as the Ouse.

Mr. Denton: There are no large towns on the Ouse to drain into the river.

Mr. Skinner said that Sharnbrook and other places were on the Ouse.

Mr. Brawn: I can give you a certainty where you can get water as good as Knuston.

Mr. Denton: But not a permanent supply.

Mr. Brawn: Knuston would not be permanent.

Mr. Denton: The experts think there is a chance of getting a permanent supplemental supply.

Mr. Miller said he would like to have seen Mr. Cameron and Mr. Eunson more hopeful, as the time for experiments was over.

Mr. Knight: Even if we go in for a big scheme I think we must take this as well.

Rushden Is Growing

all the while and we shall want water meantime.

Mr. Brawn: Then take it from where there is a certainty.

Mr. Miller: What is Mr. Eunson’s opinion about taking water from the Ouse and filtering it?

Mr. Denton: He makes no report on that.

Mr. Brawn: How do you propose to convey the water if you find it there?

The Chairman: We have not faced that yet.

Mr. Spencer’s motion was defeated, and the committee’s recommendation was adopted.


Extract from Council Meeting October 1899

The Water Supply

A meeting of the Waterworks Committee was held on Monday, Oct. 2, 1899. Present:- Mr. Fred Knight (chairman), Messrs. G. Denton, J. Claridge, T. Swindall, B. Mortimer, and W. H. Wilkins.

Bedford-road Well. – The Surveyor reported that as the result of 240 hours continuous pumping from this well the daily yield of water had gradually diminished to 9000 gallons per day, which he and Mr. Eunson considered might be taken as the normal yield. A tender from Messrs. Timmins and Co. for enlarging and relining the well 6ft in diameter and for driving headings was submitted by Mr. Eunson, but it was considered desirable before entertaining the idea of additional expense that Mr. Eunson should further consider the matter in conjunction with a thoroughly competent geologist and report both on this well and on the question of water supply generally. Mr. Eunson suggested Mr. Whitaker, late chief of the Ordnance Geological Department for this district as an expert likely to give reliable and valuable advice, and he was authorized to communicate with him as to his fee for such conference and report, and communicate the result to the Chairman, who was authorised to accept the terms on behalf of the Council if, in his opinion, they were reasonable.

Water mains, Shirley Park Estate. – The Surveyor was instructed to continue the mains on this estate as far as the houses in course of erection by Mr. J. Jones.

The report was adopted, on the motion of the Chairman.



Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us