On a grand side street in Holborn can be found an equally grand-looking water pump.
In the 1740s, this short road was known as Jockeys Fields, which seems a bit odd considering the lack of fields in the area by then, but the name has stuck to a next-door street to this day. By 1800 it had changed name to Warwick Place, and then sometime in the 1960s was renamed as an extension of next door Bedford Row.
The pump, which dates to around 1840 has changed a bit as well. It used to be flush with the street level, whereas today it’s raised up on a small island. A square lamp on the top is now round, and more intriguing is that three old bollards now surround the water pump.
They state that they date from 1826, and someone casually visiting would not unreasonably assume they were placed here then. However, a photo from 1908 shows their total absence.
The three bollards must have been added soon afterwards though, as they were themselves listed in 1974. As the water pump is rather shiny and clean, it was recently restored with funding from Historic England.
It is also decorated with the arms of St Andrew and St George on the side, probably after St Andrew Holborn, the former parish that the water pump sits within.
As it is now, it’s one of those odd relics of times past that decorate our streets and make them so interesting to wander around.
Article last updated on June 19th, 2021 at 07:27 pm