Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Village Pump

The village pump,

In olden days in every village, you could find a well,
Middle of all the cottages, close where people dwell,

Just about the last gathering round the village pump before mains water was turned on, this was 1945.
This pump was by the village shop, the other was on the village green by the Church. It was only a few more years that a sewer system and flush toilets were installed then the new council houses were built.

A Well in Every Village

In olden days in every village, you could find a well,
Middle of all the cottages, close where people dwell,
A big old curly handle, so shiny from its use,
Pumping all the water, cool and clear produce.

It had a wooden jacket, to keep the frost at bay,
Insulate with old sacks, sometimes filled with hay,
From half way up the front, a big lead spout protrude,
To hang the buckets on, out which the water spewed.

A sandstone trough beneath, there to catch what spilt,
Drain back into the well, that's the way it's built,
A bright green grassy bank, cept where the people stood,
Worn out by the villagers, who carried all they could.

Wells were used for centuries, before mains water came,
Then were all condemned, and filled in for safety blame,
No more well side meetings, every morning of the year,
Social gathering of women, no longer do appear.


As the villagers moved into the new houses so the old half timbered thatched houses were demolished, over the years the building plots were sold off by the estate and new private houses filled in the spaces down the quarter mile centre of the village.

New Cumbers Council houses in Seighford 1950's

We walked up past the village shop, on our way to school
Big hedge bank and ditch there was, further back a pool
Saw them cut the first sod, cut up trees burn the brash,
Fenced along the back, to build ten houses in a rash.

Dug the first foundations, buv ground built in no time,
Big gang of men there was, scaffolding soon to climb,
Next one started same again, on up to the eves,
Trusses and laths they were next, tiles to receive.

When built and nearly ready, frontage was dug well back,
Opened up the main road, kerbed with grass no lack,
New gates and fences, numbered one to ten,
Now all ready to move in, nearly all were farm men.

People in the village, they were first on list,
Empty all old cottages, on this they did insist,
New house and new garden, everyone was pleased,
Washing line erected, garden path was seized.

On the front lawns were laid and veg patch up behind,
Competition of, who's first produce to table consigned,
All could see what's going on, no hedge to hide the mess,
Hedge had just planted, for wind break we must stress.

All mature and tidy now, some fifty years have gone,
The old front wickets been replaced, although some have non,
Still are numbered one to ten, along a wide grass verge,
Only now are these new houses, look as though to merge.


Old houses mended,
Cost little less than new before they're ended.
Colley Cibber, The Double Gallant Prologue

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