Cleaning up water in Worksop

Worksop drinking trough which used to stand in Victoria Square, can now be found in the grounds of the old library.
Worksop drinking trough which used to stand in Victoria Square, can now be found in the grounds of the old library.
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THIS week’s Archive Corner picture shows children by the drinking trough which used to stand on Victoria Square in Worksop.

It was erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.

The photo probably dates from about 1900.

Drinking troughs and fountains became common sights in towns and cities from the middle of the 19th century.

Disease and illness were rife from poor sanitation, and cholera outbreaks in 1847 and 1858 killed thousands of people in London alone.

Water was in short supply and drinking water was often so dirty that nobody would risk drinking it, with most of the working population preferring to stick to beer instead.

In 1859 Samuel Gurney MP, a nephew of the social reformer Elizabeth Fry, was inspired by public drinking fountains newly installed by civic authorities in northern cities like Liverpool and Hull, to found the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association.

By 1867 provision of drinking troughs for animals was being included and the name was changed to the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.

The cost of the clean water supply was met in some cases by the Association, in others by the local parish.