Saturday, 7 July 2018

Drinking Troughs I have known

The drinking trough was one of those bits of street furniture I took for granted.

A water trough I knew .... St Mary's Road, date unknown
Thinking back they were all over the place and given the number of horses in use until the middle of the 20th century that is no surprise.

But they owed their origins as much to cattle as horses.

In the middle of the 19th century  cattle along with other livestock were still being walked into our city centres and while the days of bring them in from the country were over they were still being walked from main railway stations to dairies and abattoirs.

As late as the 1950s my old friend Oliver Bailey had the job of transporting pigs from our local station to his farm through the streets of Chorlton-cum-Hardy and the family still kept a herd of cattle on a patch of land in the heart of the township.

So the water trough during the years I grew up in Lausanne Road was still in use although by then its use was pretty much limited to offering water to the horses pulling the milk floats and the rag and bone man’s cart.

An on Bexley Road a water trough with flowers
And if I think hard enough the one on the corner of St Mary’s Road and Evelina Road was more often dry and a place for us lads to sit in and be silly getting our clothes dusty and a tad grimy from the accumulated muck which was a mix of dried leaves, the odd discarded crisp paper and street grit.

Some troughs can still be found like the one in Eltham, others were taken over as flower beds before finding their way into Corporation Yards and finally broken up as rubble.

Now I have decided to begin looking for them and plotting their presence around the area where I grew up.
And to help me I have fallen back on an excellent set of historical maps of Southwark.*

The trough on St Mary's Road, 1953
They cover the period from 1896-1953 and offer up a fascinating resource more so as the later ones cover my own time in Lausanne Road.

Added to which there is the facility to compare them with modern street maps and switch to contemporary street scenes.

From which I know that my water trough at the top of St Mary’s Road has long gone.
And as you would expect the story behind the maps is a tale in itself.
They were found in a cupboard by Mr Carter in the council offices who decided to have them digitized and made available on line.

That Peckham water trough again
They represent an invaluable resource for any one engaged in family research or like me have been drawn back to write about the place I grew up.

All too often my memory is hazy to the point where I wonder whether they actually happened.
So trying to track where my old friend Jimmy lived proved almost impossible.

I knew it was a street off Queen’s Road between Mona and the fire station.  Sadly google street maps offered no help but there on the 1953 map was the place and by using the electoral roll I found him and his house all over again.

And the same 1953 map offered up the corner of St Mary’s Road with Evelina Road that water  trough which was good because despite Adrian’s picture I had come to doubt that I had ever sat there.

All I have to do is find the rest.

Tomorrow, Ghost signs on Evelina Road .............. along with an old telephone kiosk and much more

Picture; St Mary’s Road with water trough, date unknown supplied by Adrian Parfitt, water trough, Bexley Road, 2015 from the collection of Jean Gammons and detail of St Mary’s Road 1953 historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at Historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at
 with mapping provided by Landmark Information Group

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