It would be impressive to be out in the middle of the countryside and find one 19th century water pump, but two within a mile of each other is exceptional.

The first, from a distance looked like it might be a lych gate from a missing church, or a bus stop on a road I knew had no buses, but getting closer, and what a marvel was revealed.

Underneath the thatched pitched roof, a simple but decorative wooden wall, and a late 19th century water pump. In the days before piped water, these hand operated water pumps were essential for the local village, so would have been looked after carefully.

Today I detected far more cobwebs than flowing water, but the brickwork is still in decent condition and the stone basin still intact. It was quite a delightful find, and of the sort that you really only discover when out for a ramble.

But more to come, for a bit further around the road, in the village of Old Warden was another water pump house.

This was very different, being of white wood and painted timber corner posts with curved braces supporting a gabled roof of clay tiles with bands of fishscale tiles and decorative terracotta ridge.

This rather grander looking water pump shelter also had a 19th century pump, and a somewhat grander one at that. The iron pumping handle is missing, but the long spout remains.

One pump house is delightfully rustic, and one in the village itself very noticeably posher.

If you were to be in the village of Old Warden (maybe visiting a nearby folly), also look for the village sign. It’s a work of art.


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  1. Simon says:

    I do love a good village sign.

  2. William Cann. says:

    Thanks for some very interesting things on your website it was nice to see a few photos of interest , thank you.

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