Romney Marsh Rural District Council
New Romney, 24th August 1911
Newchurch Water Supply
At a recent meeting of the above named council the medical officer of health again drew the Council's attention to the necessity for a satisfactory supply of wholesome water in this parish and I was instructed to write to owners of property in the parish of Newchurch asking them if they would be prepared to attend a meeting at Newchurch in September to discuss the most satisfactory means of dealing with this question.
The medical officer of health would be perfectly willing to meet the owners and to give them any advice in his power and it is also possible that the County Medical Officer of Health would be able to attend such a Meeting.
Please be good enough to inform me as soon as possible whether you would be willing to attend if a meeting of the Owners is held as suggested.
N. Lamacraft, Clerk to the Council
Pump Cottage taken in 2015.
The village pump was situated by the road at Pump Cottage
This created some controversy as the following replies show, due to the reluctance of owners to fund the scheme.
Reply from Elvy Stickels, 28th August 1911
In reply to your letter re Newchurch Water Supply.
As there are such a few houses so widely scattered in Newchurch I suggest that your Council compels owners of houses to put cement tanks in the ground with a beach filter and put shooting round the roofs of their houses and then they would be much better off for drinking water.
NEW ROMNEY. S. O., May 23rd
Dear Mr. Lamacraft,
My knowledge from which I drew the conclusion that water could and ought not to be a matter for a voluntary rate for Landlords but rather for occupiers was gathered generally from a canvas in connection with the Urban Council election. I have no names or information I can give you. My connection with the matter must end for the reasons I stated in my last letter.
I will send you ￡5 any time you decide to proceed with the scheme voluntarily.
Yours very faithfully
PS: What has startled me most is the large number of folk who are open to receive benefits and improvements at other people's expense altho' they themselves are better off by far than those they expect to contribute, and who themselves will not put down a farthing's value to help the case’. I bar my money going in a matter so one-sided, as I am sure every other landlord will.
And replies from Revd. G. Brocklehurst, rector from 1907 to 1916
NEW ROMNEY. S. O., April 27, 1912
Dear Mr. Lamacraft,
I beg to send you such papers as belong to Mr. Hutchings, and the general matter of the Newchurch water. The separate papers re contracts etc I have sent to Dr Hick as they came to me from him. During my canvass I found that there will never be a water supply provided by voluntary subscription of Landlords – those without house property will not think of subscribing. And in any voting the ‘outside’ and ‘distant’ occupiers can easily outvote the cottagers resident near the village.
In any case I must drop the whole matter as I find there is a definite opinion that it is mere meddlesomeness on my part having anything to do or say with the ‘water’. In fact it lost me my election, I could have won probably 2 to 1 if the other side had not exploited against me the ‘water’ and raising of rates to supply water.
You will understand why one drops the matter entirely. I have a perfect and excellent supply of water for drinking, cleaning and all purposes at the Rectory. I was only thinking of the cottagers when I took the matter up.
The only solution is for each house to go to the expense (like I have) of providing a full and adequate supply for itself.
Yours very truly
Prior to this the residents, particularly the less wealthy cottagers in rented accommodation, relied on their own or a communal well for all their needs. The village pump was by the road at Pump Cottage, next to the pound, until it was moved to the other side of The Old School House by the church path, which was closer to the actual well.