Industry => Waterworks => Topic started by: numanfan on April 07, 2010, 08:49:05

Title: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: numanfan on April 07, 2010, 08:49:05
Situated along Capstone Road, Luton, it was completed in 1857
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: ellenkate on April 07, 2010, 09:06:34


What wonderful old photos - top hat times the 1850s !
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Chatham_Girl85 on April 07, 2010, 09:09:42
i'd say the two buildings in the then and now bit are the same building
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: karlostg on April 07, 2010, 09:40:21
Nice pics Numanfan, shows that the building really has been mucked about. I would go as far as saying they were different places, were it not for Darland Mill in the first photo  :)
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: merc on April 07, 2010, 11:02:31
Great pics and info as always Numanfan :)

I'ld love a look around this place.

Does the pumping station pump water up the hill, and to the reservoirs near the Darland Banks at all ?
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Leofwine on January 26, 2011, 19:12:54
Water supply in Brompton and Gillingham was always a problem due to the elevation of both settlements and the nature of the chalky subsoil, usually requiring deep wells to access it.   For the first century and a half of its existence the residents of Brompton relied on such wells for their water, with most houses having their own well, or one shared with a neighbour.

This all changed in 1856 when, during the construction of No. 2 basin in Chatham Dockyard, the contractors (Messrs J & C Rigby) cut through the main sping of the district. This not only flooded their work, it also caused the wells of Brompton to run dry, much to the consternation of its inhabitants. Harris (1923) gives a vivid description of what happened next:

The Naval Authorities came to their rescue; and at noon every day a stand pipe was fixed in the roadway near to the Government Reservoir, at the top of Barrack Hill, and the inhabitants came to it with every kind of vessel, capable of holding the precious liquid, and obtained their supply for the day. Pails, barrels, stone bottles, washtubs and even wash-stand jugs were put into requisition for the purpose, and the noon-tide gathering would have mad a picture worthy of Hogarth.

As Harris suggests, this noon-time water distribution must have caused quite a commotion as by this time Brompton contained of almost 500 houses. Obviously this situation could not continue indefinitely and so John Baird, landlord of the Two Sawyers in the High Street and late High Constable of Gillingham, called a meeting of the principal residents of the locality, including Cannon Daniel Cook, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church. The meeting took place in the parlour of the Two Sawyers and it was there decided to form the Brompton Water Works Company with John Baird as the Chairman, and to apply for an Act of Parliament for the same. The act was procured and the Brompton and Gillingham Water Company was registered on the 9th December 1856 with a capital of £7,500.

A well was commissioned and sunk below the original strata to supply the residents of Brompton with fresh water (presumably helping to drain the flooded basin too.) The company piped water into Brompton houses at a cost of 4 percent of the ratable value of the property (giving afigure of about 1s. 8d. to 2s. a quarter). Demand grew rapidly and by 1858 new sources in the Luton Valley were being tapped, with a pumping house being constructed in Luton. Soon the company was supplying the barracks, the hospital and the convict prison, and eventually street hydrants were supplied ‘capable of throwing water higher than a house.’ At this time water was being piped to the old village of Gillingham. At first there was only one outside tap for every four properties, but some years later each cottage was fitted with its own indoor tap, but no sink )presumably the resident must supply their own!)

The Luton Pumping Station, c.1860
(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5094/5390424627_65abeb9f67_z.jpg)
(Photograph reproduced by permission of the Royal Engineers Museum www.re-museum.co.uk)
Larger version here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N03/5390424627/

By 1860 plans were made to supply Chatham and in 1861 a water pillar, paid for by Brompton shopkeepers, supplied a cart that cleaned the streets. As more houses were built and the area supplied grew, so the demand increased, and to help counter this reservoirs were built at Star Mill Lane and water pumped into them from the Luton pumping station and its ‘immense’ reserves. Things did not always go as planned, and during the filling of one of these reservoirs, built in 1862, one of its sides collapsed and water flooded down Canterbury Street. Despite these minor setbacks the company continued to expand, eventually supplying Rochester as well, until by the early 20th century it had become ‘one of the most successful undertakings in the County.’

For many years no dividends were paid to the founders, but they could content themselves with ‘a pure supply of good wholesome water.’ This last phrase was no idle boast as tests carried out on it by Professor Clark of Aberdeen University showed the water was ‘first-class chalk water, free of organic matter and only had 16 degrees of hardness, most of which was lost on boiling.’  Eventually, as the company expanded and became successful, back dividends were paid, with interest, to the founders of the original Brompton Water Works Company. By the early 20th century the company had been re-named several times, eventually becoming The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company.

In a final, ironic, twist of fate in July 1902, shortly after John Baird’s death in 1900, his old pub, The Two Sawyers, which he had owned for about 70 years, and where the Brompton Water Company was founded, caught fire. At first the fire was small and could have easily been extinguished had there been a ready supply of water. However, the policy of the water company was, at that time, to turn off the water supply overnight. A message was sent urgently to have the water turned on, but for some reason there was a delay in this happening of over an hour. By the time the water supply was turned on the Two Sawyers was completely destroyed and it was all the Fire Brigade could do to stop the neighbouring buildings catching fire too. A note in the Chatham News following the incident gives a good indication of public reaction:

The destruction of the Two Sawyers Inn at Old Brompton by fire has given the district a profound shock. People tremble to think of what might have happened had the conflagration occurred at some other building where a household was larger and included children. It seems incredible, in the twentieth century, that it should be impossible to obtain water from the public mains for upwards of an hour – yet the story is quite literally true. Of course the mere shutting off of the supply during the night would not account for such a prolonged delay; there must have been a breakdown in the method of communication between the town and the waterworks. In the absence of full information, I will not cast blame upon the Water Company; but certainly the matter ought to be made the subject of an official enquiry.

It makes one wonder if John Baird had still been the owner, would the water supply have taken so long to turn on?



References
Baldwin, R. A. (1998) Gillingham Chronicles: A History of Gillingham, Kent. Baggins Book Bazaar: Kent
Crawshaw, James D. (1999) The History of Chatham Dockyard. Isaac Garford
Leeds, C.S. (1906) Chats About Gillingham. Parrett & Neves
Harris, E. (1923) Eastgate Series: History of Old Brompton. Edwin Harris & Son, Rochester
Chatham And Rochester News, Saturday 12th July 1902
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: patmore on February 08, 2011, 11:58:59
Nice work Leofwine,lots of information there. Have you found anything on the other waterworks building just up beyond the Waggon at Hale on Capstone Road ie. what was/is its function?
                                                   James
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: merc on December 30, 2011, 16:44:08
A reservoir, which had recently been completed, burst from the North side, just after 4 in the morning, on Saturday, 9th August, 1862. The water poured out over the surrounding land and onto the Turnpike Road (Watling Street), several feet in depth. When full the reservoir could of held a million gallions of water, at the time of bursting the reservoir was almost full. The damage caused was estimated to be about £5000.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Leofwine on February 14, 2012, 19:07:13
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 12 November 1861

LAW INTELLIGENCE.
COURT OF QUEEN'S BENCH. Nov. 2. — THE QUEEN v. THE REGISTRAR OF THE COUNTY COURT OF KENT. — Mr. Prentice moved for a rule calling upon the Registrar of the County Court of Kent, which was held at Rochester, and a person named Young, to show cause why the Registrar should not receive and approve a bond tendered by the Brompton, Chatham, Gillingham, and Rochester Waterworks Company, as security for costs. It appeared from the learned counsel's statement, that an action had been brought up by a person named Young against the Waterworks Company, in the County Court, claiming £50 as damages for negligence in the construction of certain works, and the company, under the 30th section of the 19th and 20 Victoria, cap. 108, gave notice to remove the cause to a superior court, and tendered to the Registrar a bond, with sureties, security for costs, as required by the 70th section. The Registrar approved of the sureties, but he refused to accept the bond, upon the ground that the company, being a corporation, could not execute bond for such a purpose. The learned counsel therefore applied to this Court for a rule calling upon the Registrar to accept and approve the bond; that mode of proceeding being substituted, by the 43rd section of the 19th and 20th of Victoria, cap. 108, for the remedy by mandamus. - The Court granted a rule to show cause.

Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Leofwine on February 26, 2012, 17:32:11
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 26 November 1861

LAW INTELLIGENCE.
VICE-CHANCELLOR'S COURT. Nov. 15th.—(Before Sir William Page Wood.)
THE QUEEN V. THE REGISTRAR OF THE COUNTY COURT OF KENT.
In this case a rule had been granted, calling upon the Registrar of the County Court of Kent, held at Rochester, to show cause why he should not receive and approve of bond executed by the Brompton, Chatham, &c. Waterworks Company, as security under the 39th section of the 19th and 20th of Victoria, chap. 108, on the removal of a plaint to a superior court. It appeared that a person named Young had brought an action in the County Court against the waterworks Company to recover damages for injury alleged to have been sustained by the negligence of the company in the construction of certain works. The plaintiff claimed £50 as damages, and thus brought the case within the 39th section of the 19th and 20th of Victoria, which enacted, among other things, that where in an action of tort in the County Court the plaintiff claims more than £5 as damages the defendant shall be at liberty to remove the cause to a superior court, and shall give security, to be approved by the registrar, for the amount claimed. the 70th rule of practice it is provided "that where a party is required to give security it shall be by bond with sureties to the other party." This had been done in the present case; but when the bond, with two sufficient sureties, was tendered to the registrar, he refused to accept it, upon the ground that the Waterworks Company, being a corporation, had no power to execute a bond. No objection was made to the sufficiency the sureties, but the registrar after referring the matter to the Treasury, refused to accept and approve the bond, upon the simple ground that the company had no power to execute it.
The Hon. G. Denman, Q.C., and Mr. F. Russell now appeared on the part of the registrar, and showed cause against the rule, and contended that neither by the common law nor statute had the company power to execute a bond. It would, therefore, be a nullity, and it could not be the duty of the registrar to accept and approve it, it being his duty, under the Act, to receive and approve the security.
Lord Chief Justice Cockburn said might be that the bond would be inoperative so far as the company was concerned, but it would be good as against the sureties, and that was all the statute seemed to require. His Lordship suggested that the power of the company to execute a bond might arise out of the statute, or out of the necessity under which the company might be to defend their rights.
Mr. Denman submitted that the registrar had a discretion to exercise, and if he was bound to accept this bond he would also be bound to accept the bond of an infant or of a married woman.
Lord Chief Justice Cockburn said he did not see why he should not do so if he was satisfied with the sureties.
Mr. Justice Blackburn said he thought that when a bond with two sufficient sureties was brought to him the registrar had no discretion to exercise.
Mr. Addison, who appeared for the plaintiff the action, said he had nothing to add.
Mr. Prentice, who appeared for the company in support of the rule, was not called upon.
Lord Chief Justice Cockburn said the only duty of the registrar was to see that the bond was executed by the party to the suit, with two sureties, as to whose sufficiency he would exercise a rigorous discretion. He had nothing further to do, nor would he incur any responsibility, so long as he did what the statute required. His Lordship intimated that it was within the scope of the company's power to execute a bond of this nature, but his Lordship said it was not necessary to decide that question.
The other Judges concurred.—Rule absolute.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on May 30, 2012, 13:03:10
Merc, I don't think this site is connected to the reservoirs at all.

I have enquired as to whether I could visit this pumping station and other early buildings on this site and am awaiting a response, I do not think it is likely though.

Here are a couple of pictures from the other direction :)
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Lutonman on May 30, 2012, 20:02:43
According to the talk given at Chatham Library I went to, the water is pumped upto the Darlands to create the head of water to feed the local area.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on May 30, 2012, 20:04:31
I may well be wrong, but do not remember their being a connection on the plans - but then I was looking for things like that and was concentraiting more on the smaller pumping stations in the area.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: GP on May 31, 2012, 16:32:10
I think the old pumping station is still onsite, or remains of the building . It was coal fired steam beam  engine, which could be seen working through the windows.


Coal landed at Sun Pier was transported up to Luton, a a contractor called Mondays. they had a coal yard nearby.

Now of course it is all pumped electricaly.

Pumping stations and reserviors are all monitored remotely, and may stiil be so from the Offices in Luton.

Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on August 25, 2012, 17:43:19
An older gentleman came into the Brook Pumping Station today and he was telling us how his uncle worked in the pumping station at Capstone.  He was saying he lived just along the road from it and if he stood in his outside toilet very quietly he could hear the hum of the big wheel running.  His face lit up when he saw the pumps and he was very happy to be reminded of his time spent with his uncle.

I love moments like this when someone is made happy and tell you stories of their experiences :)
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on September 17, 2012, 09:44:55
The Coal House - http://www.mcmeeking.co.uk/property/coalhouse-chatham.htm
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on September 17, 2012, 09:50:35
Page 17 shows the service tunnel that leads under the playing fields I think.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Lutonman on September 17, 2012, 18:20:08
Kyn,
Not sure that it shows anything other than a water main as it is connected to a 12" main in the top left. These tunnels would have been very large based on the old photographs.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on September 18, 2012, 07:28:51
The key to the plan is confusing, I may go back to them and check their plans again as the pipes have individual information.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: kyn on December 28, 2012, 21:02:05
JOINT STOCK COMPANIES REGISTRATIONS ACT

Return of the Name, Business, and Promoters of the Chatham and Rochester water Works Company. 21 December 1852

1.   Name of the Proposed Company:  The Chatham and Rochester Water Works Company
2.   Business, or Purpose:  The supplying of the Borough of Chatham, the City of Rochester and places adjoined with water and the constructing of works and other matt*** ****** for that purpose.

3.   The Promoters of the Company:

Name.Occupations, rank, or Usual Title.Place of Business (if any).Place of Residence.
John ****** ******Civil Engineer4 Hammond Place Chatham4 Hammond Place Chatham
John James RickonSurveyorRome Lane, Chatham4 Hammond Place Chatham
Samuel Henry PowellGentleman 7 Cambridge ******, Ke******gton Surrey.


Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Radioham 49 on October 17, 2015, 22:56:44
The Old Coal House used to be the main garage for servicing Medway Water Board vehicles when I joined as an apprentice in 1965.
The big Simpson engine had been removed by then along with other smaller ones used to boost water to Darland res.
At that time water was drawn from the wells at Luton by an electric spindle pump close to the main offices & an electric submersible pump adjacent to where the old Simpson engine had been removed.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Leofwine on July 01, 2017, 17:16:13
JOINT STOCK COMPANIES REGISTRATIONS ACT

Return of the Name, Business, and Promoters of the Chatham and Rochester water Works Company. 21 December 1852

1.   Name of the Proposed Company:  The Chatham and Rochester Water Works Company
2.   Business, or Purpose:  The supplying of the Borough of Chatham, the City of Rochester and places adjoined with water and the constructing of works and other matt*** ****** for that purpose.

3.   The Promoters of the Company:

Name.Occupations, rank, or Usual Title.Place of Business (if any).Place of Residence.
John ****** ******Civil Engineer4 Hammond Place Chatham4 Hammond Place Chatham
John James RickonSurveyorRome Lane, Chatham4 Hammond Place Chatham
Samuel Henry PowellGentleman 7 Cambridge ******, Ke******gton Surrey.

I think this refers to an earlier Water company. I have come across a reference to "an earlier Waterworks Company to supply Chatham" which failed (it is unclear if it failed to get permission to trade, or if it started trading and failed.)  The Brompton & Gillingham Waterworks Company was founded about 3-4 years after the date of the Company referred to in the above Registration.

There is this from West Kent Guardian - Saturday 30 April 1853
County Intelligence.
ROCHESTER AND CHATHAM,
Water Works. — During the past week the prospectus of a new company for supply the towns of Chatham, Rochester, Brompton and Gillingham, with water has been profusely distributed.

The Brompton & Gillingham Waterworks Company initially just supplied Bromton & Gillingham, and later added Chatham (which at that point did not have a reliable water supply), and later still added Rochester.
Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Leofwine on July 01, 2017, 17:22:35
This notice/advert appeared in January 1857 in several Kentish Newspapers and seems to date from soon after the founding of the company.

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Tuesday 13 January 1857, South Eastern Gazette - Tuesday 13 January 1857, South Eastern Gazette - Tuesday 27 January 1857 and others

BROMPTON & GILLINGHAM CONSUMERS'
WATER WORKS COMPANY.
(Limited.)
REGISTERED UNDER THE JOINT STOCK COMPANIES' ACT, 1856.
CAPITAL £10,000, IN 2,000 SHARES OF £5 EACH.
Directors.
The Reverend Daniel Cookie, Brompton.
Mr. John Baird, Brompton.
Mr. James Budden, Chatham.
Mr. John William Death, Brompton.
Mr. Charles Withecomb, Chatham.
William Jennis, Esq., R.N., Brompton.
Mr. Thomas Honey, Brompton.
Mr. Alfred Light, Brompton.
(With power to add one to their number.)
Engineer — James Pilbrow, Esq., F.S.A., &c.
Bankers — The London and County Bank.
Solicitor — Mr. Robert Shindler.
Secretary — Mr. George Bolton.
Temporary Office — 16, Middle-street, Brompton.
PROSPECTUS.
THE object of the Company is to provide an unlimited supply of pure and wholesome Water on the high pressure and constant service principle, to the towns of Old and New Brompton, and neighbourhood.
From the great and increasing inconvenience suffered by all classes from the deficiency of water, the Directors confidently submit their prospectus, and earnestly hope, that — not from commercial considerations alone, but from the urgent necessity that exists for the formation of a company to supply this necessary element (whereby the sanitary condition of the Towns will be greatly improved, and the value of property considerably enhanced) — the public will support the company, by becoming shareholders therein.
The source will be in that immense repository and reservoir of water, the great chalk formation, which, rising to the surface, forms a characteristic feature in this part of the county. James Filbrow, Esq., C.E., F.S.A., who has had very considerable experience, having designed and carried out water works in various localities, and who is therefore well qualified to give a sound opinion in regard to such matters, having been consulted, states, the water is not only abundant, as above referred to, but its obtainment economical and free from difficult or expensive works. The locality of the works for obtaining this supply, it is proposed should be in the valley of Luton. The towns will directly supplied from a service reservoir, to be constructed near the Star Mill, on the Canterbury road.
The necessary works, including all expenses for the supply of these towns and neighbourhood, allowing for a very considerable extension, has been estimated at the utmost £9,000. The estimate includes land, wells, engines, reservoir, mains, and in fact the whole of the necessary plant for raising and distributing at least 300,000 gallons of water per 12 hours. The engineer also undertakes, that, should it be found necessary, this quantity may be doubled or trebled by simple additions to the works; the source of supply being equal to a far greater demand than is likely to be made upon it by these or the neighbouring towns.
Although the works now to be constructed are equal to supply 300,000 gallons per 12 hours, yet the directors, in estimating their income, calculate that not more than 200,000 gallons per diem, at the most, will required during the first two years.
This company has not been projected with an idea that a large dividend will be immediately paid upon the amount invested, yet the directors confidently assert that, should the greater portion of the inhabitants take water from the company, of which, it is a consumers’ company, there is no doubt, they (the directors) will be in a position to declare a dividend to a greater amount than other companies which have held out promises of a nature impossible to be realized; for instance, should 3-4ths of the houses take water, at an average rate of 4s. per quarter, that will realise............................................. £720 0 0
Add — Special charges for brickfields, breweries,
   public-houses, bakehouses and other trades,
   slaughterhouses, fire plugs, &c. &c. ............ £280 0 0
      Gives annual income of ..................... £1,000 0 0
This is entirely independent of any income that may be derived from the supply of any of the Government establishments, which the directors have every reason to believe will, ultimately, be a very considerable item in their revenue.
The working expenses and staff for the supply ofthe mazimum quantity of 300,000 gallons will under £400 per annum, thus leaving £600, or nearly £7 per cent, upon an expenditure of £9,000, and this be it remembered without calculating upon the Government or railways as customers.
As it is wished that this should be (in accordance with its title) a Consumers’ Company, the shares have been fixed at £5 each, £1 of which to be paid on allotment, and the remainder by instalments of £1 each, at intervals of not less than 10 weeks, 28 days' clear notice of each call to be given.
FORM OF APPLICATION FOR SHARES.
To the Directors of the Brompton and Gillingham Consumers' Water Works Company.
(Limited.)
Gentlemen, — Please to allot me            Shares of £5 each in the above Company, and I hereby agree to accept the same, or any less number of Shares which may be allotted me, and to pay the Deposit thereon as required by the Letter of Allotment; and I undertake to abide by the Articles and Regulations of the said Company, and to sign the same if required.
           Date........................................
           Name in full................................            Residence...................................
           Profession or Occupation....................


Title: Re: The Brompton, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Water Works Company
Post by: Dave Smith on July 02, 2017, 13:13:17
Makes interesting reading. We tend to forget that all these "infrastructures" we take for granted, all had to start sometime. I imagine the supplying water well would have artesian. Interestingly my father was an apprentice in the very early 20th century to a firm of artesian well borers in Chatham High Street. I wonder if the firm was started at the time of the B.& G. W.W.Co. launch?