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1854 Public Health Inquiry Part 2


WH Paine Esq MD said -
“I am an owner of cottage property, but I cannot do what is necessary for the tenants for want of sewerage. That is some of the lower parts of the town, the water-closets are connected with the sewer, and the smell from the gratings is very bad. I some time ago attended a fatal and severe case of typhus fever, the worst case I have ever seen.  The cottages are close to these gratings, and the children are always playing over them.
“The most unhealthy portion of the town is the upper part, entirely undrained, the drains merely taking off the surface water; the cesspools are numerous.

Mr Thomas Davis stated,-
“I have been subjected to inconvenience for the last 20 years from there being no sewer to carry off the foul water, and as a consequence it was thrown into the street. I  believe that if all the streets were drained (sewered) , it would be less expensive than it is at present to the inhabitants.”

Mr R Whitmore stated,-
“I reside in Gloucester-street near 'Bad-brook.' The pond dam was raised a few years since to obtain sufficient head of water to drive an overshot wheel , and the fall in the brook has consequently been reduced. I do not consider the outfall of the common sewer as now raised above the surface of the water in the brook objectionable, but thinks if the brook itself was covered over it would be worse than it is at present.”

In consequence of a summons having been taken out against Mr Bramble to abate a nuisance, that gentleman on the 8th June 1848 undertook to abate the nuisance, and to make a drain to communicate with the common sewer, providing the commissioners would consent to the opening being made into the sewer. It was however resolved to withhold consent, as they were doubtful whether the present sewers would be sufficient to carry off the soil from privies if generally turned into sewers. But on the 3rd August in the same year, leave was granted to Mr Bramble to join his drain with the main sewer.

Mr Preston, solicitor and clerk to the Magistrates stated,-
"The sewerage of the town is very defective. That the whole of the upper part of the town (which is within the jurisdiction of the commissioners) is without public sewers, the part more particularly alluded to being one where the working classes chiefly reside. Brick-row is particularly obnoxious; Chapel-street, Summer-street, Middle-street, Lower-street, Parliament-Street, Tower-hill and Stroud-Hill.

In March 1848 the commissioners came to the following resolution:-
“That in all cases where there is a common sewer or drain in any road or street in Stroud, in or near which there are dwelling houses and premises from which the water is not at present conveyed into such sewer or drain within 10 days from the time of the service of such notice.”

And they referred the subject of the construction of new common sewers or drains to a committee who were to report in what streets and parts of the town it would be desirable to make new sewers &c.

On the 8th May the commissioners determined to make a new drain to commence at the corner of Middle-street, at its junction with Nelson-street, in order to carry off this waste water from the middle of the street and Chapel-street.
In May 1849 it was determined to make a sewer 30 yards in length in High-street

On the 5th July,1849, it was decided by the commissioners that a drain at the back of Lower-street should be covered over, and a cesspool made in the adjoining field.

In May 1852 an order was made for the constructing a new drain 144 feet from the mouth at “Bad-brook” 12 feet deep and about 3 feet from the edge of the pavement, at the upper end to connect with the old drain.<br>
On 19th August 1852 a new drain was ordered to be made in High-street to the extent of 50 yards, the tender for the work being rather under 15s 6d per lineal yard.

The Rev Mr Yates said,-
“Several new houses have recently been built in Chalford Road, but there is no drainage provided, nor could there be, unless a common sewer was made through the road. I consulted a professional man, who said the Local Act prohibited the making of a sewer.”<

Mr Taunton, engineer to the Thames and Severn Canal, said, -
“Almost the whole of the sewerage of Stroud discharged into their canal. The committee had objected to it but did not like to be unneighbourly. If it were discharged there it might possibly be emptied in a still more objectionable place. Sometime ago the commissioners were in the habit of draining into a place called Stroud-pond; the Canal committee, seeing this was objectionable by causing a deposit in the canal, ordered an iron culvert to be placed under the pound, at a cost of near 100l., to divert the drainage altogether, The commissioners having again diverted a great part of the sewage by carrying it into the lower pond, so that the iron culvert which was formed by the committee is to a great extent inoperative. The sewage at Coalbridge (sic this may be a mishearing of Wallbridge)which used to be clensed once a year has now to be cleanses three or four times during that time

Sewers, Paving &c

The commissioners are empowered by the 15th section to pave or flag the carriage or footway of all the present and future streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes and other public passages and places within the limits of the town, as well as the repair, amend, or alter any of the said streets, roads &c. Power is also given by the same section to the commissioners to make or cut into, upon, through, over, along, or under any of the said streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes, passages, and places respectively, any tunnels, gutters, sinks, drains, sewers, or water courses, for conveying the water therefrom and also cause any of the aforesaid tunnels, gutters &c to be amended, repaired, opened, widened, discontinued, or stopped up, to divert and also change the form or course thereof.

By the latter part of the 15th section it is enacted that nothing contained in the said Act is to exonerate the trustees or commissioners of turnpike-roads within the limits of the town form the repairs of the turnpike-roads within the said limits.

The occupiers of houses, yards, passages, or other property adjoining or near any of the aforesaid streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes, entries, passages and places in which shall be contained drains, common sewers, or water courses, may be called upon and required by the commissioners, at their (the occupiers') own expense to convey the water from their premises by proper drains or sewers into the drains, sewers and water-courses of the said streets, roads, &c. as they the said commissioners, shall direct, under a penalty of five pounds for each default therein, ten days notice in writing from the commissioners or their surveyor for the time being, having first given  to such occupier or occupiers requiring them to cause such water to be conveyed into the public drains as aforesaid.

By the 79th section it is enacted that all of the present and future pavements, flag stones, and kerb-stones in the streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes, entries, passages, and places within the town, and all carriage-ways or footways or passages which shall hereafter be made therein shall be vested in the commissioners. Whilst by the 73rd section they are empowered to enter into contracts for paving flagging, &c., or for materials necessary for that purpose.

Water Supply

Mr Hawkins, solicitor and clerk to the water company, stated,-

“In the year 1767, a tradesman (plumber, &c,) of the name Grayebrook (sic should be Grazebrook) purchased a piece of land and took steps to gain a right to a noted well called “Grainey's Well” (sic should be Gainey's) by means of a lease from Thomas Baylis, a clothier. The deed recited that the water water ran from the spring above-named  into the mill pond of Mr Baylis; it was stipulated that Mr Grayebrook should supply the town with that water by means of pipes, Grayebrook covenanted not to divert the water for any other purpose, and Baylis not to grant a licence to any other person to take water from the above named spring. Mr Grayebrook obtained permission to lay down pipes and purchased land for the site of a reservoir. Upon the demise of Mr Grayebrook, the works became the property of his son (who was a banker), until about 20 years since, when several gentlemen of the town formed themselves into a company and purchased the works.

“The reservoir is open, and about 37 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep, containing about 15, 000 gallons. The position of this reservoir only admits a supply to the lower parts of the town , and at the rate of 3000 gallons per day. The number of families supplied is 300 or 1,500 persons the water being turned on for about 2 hours in the morning each day.

The upper part of the town is supplied by means of a second reservoir and springs rising in a farm of about 140 acres, which have also been purchased by the Company from a Mr Hopson. The reservoir is 37 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep and considered capable of holding 22,000 gallons. The yield of the springs rising in the farm is about 7,000 gallons, and is distributed to about 300 families or 1500 persons, although at the time of holding the inquiry there was not sufficient water in the reservoir to charge the mains. The water is only of for two or three weeks; in summer for two or three days only.

The capital of the company is 5000l but the works have been extended out of income and the maximum dividend declared has been 5 per cent.

WH Paine Esq MD stated,-
“About 3 years since I an analysed the water and found that in common with most of the springs in the district the water from the upper spring contained a large quantity of carbonate of lime. The water from the lower spring contained about one-third less lime and less free carbonic acid, so that is a flatter water (not so brisk).”

Mr Henry Thornton said, -
“There is a public pump at the Cross and in 1720 the Rev. Mr Johns bequeathed the sum of 10s per annum for the purpose of keeping this pump in repair. The original pump was taken down many years ago, and the present one, which is useless, has been substituted. The depth of the well is about 90 feet; in 1838 it was opened and cleaned out. The defect is in the pump and want of sufficient power to raise the water, although it would be useful for water the streets.”

With regard to the bequest of 10s per annum, Mr Withey stated,-<br>
“There has been no pump for many years and that money has been applied to apprenticing boys.”

WH Paine Esq MD said,-

“A great many of the inhabitants have their wells very near the cesspools; I have seen cases where the water has stunk very much when it has been drawn up. The cesspools are not generally carried to the same depth as the wells.”

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