Having had my eyes opened to this existence of these reservoirs, I soon spotted a few more in the local countryside - reservoirs which I had frequently passed by, but never previously noticed. The pictures below show two such reservoirs along the Fair Mile road, near the hamlet of Wexcombe in Wiltshire.
The first reservoir is fenced off and is accompanied by a round brick structure that used to serve as a pump house. It seems that this reservoir / pump house combination were built in 1899 to supply water to the hamlet of Wexcombe, and the faded plaque that resides above the pump house door is believed to read "Wexcombe Waterworks the gift of William Corbin Finch 1899".
|A covered reservoir (fenced off) behind the brick built pump house.|
|The faded inscription above the pump house, believed to read "Wexcombe Waterworks the gift of William Corbin Finch 1899".|
|Looking over the fence at the top of the covered reservoir.|
|The pipes on top of the covered reservoir that hint at its identity.|
The second reservoir was unfortunately inaccessible due to its position in a field, but was clearly identifiable from its mound like shape and the pipes emanating from the structure.
|Another reservoir along Fair Mile road, near Wexcombe.|
|Some of the concrete structure is just visible through the foliage.|
Wexcombe itself is barely a mark on the map (a handful of houses and a farm), so when reading about Wexcombe I was surprised to find that the hamlet had a small, but significant, claim to fame.
In 1920 a man named Arthur Hosier moved to Wexcombe where he purchased an estate. It seems that Hosier wanted to turn his land over to dairy farming, but he was initially deterred from doing this as the parts of his land that where suitable for grazing cattle where a long way away from his farm buildings. To overcome this problem and to save the cost of constructing new farm buildings, Hosier invented the portable milking bail which enabled him to take his milking equipment to the cows as opposed to trying to bring the cows back to the farm for milking.
A portable milking bail is essentially a mobile stall/shed in which cows can be held for milking to prevent the cows from kicking or trampling the farmer (or generally moving about) while the cows are being milked. Hosier's invention was soon being manufactured and sold, enabling farmers across the country to milk their cows in locations remote from their farm infrastructure. The Hosier portable milking bail set off a revolution in dairy farming and was a staple bit of dairy farming equipment until recent years.
The portable milking bail was one of only a few bits of equipment that was developed by Hosier, which saw his farm in Wexcombe become a centre of UK farming innovation during Hosier's lifetime.
Pictures, Wiltshire (April 2014).
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