Mrs Becher's Diary


Our Water Supply

We had of course no telephone, no gas, electricity or WATER. If our rain water tanks ran dry, it was sometimes possible to buy water at a £1 a cart load, if one lived in that part of the village which paid its rates to Amersham. The other part of the vilIage, (on the other side of the road), came under Chepping Wycombe & this Authority had rights in the matter of supply of water to those houses in its district. Amersham had laid on a water main for their district, but was not permitted to supply water to anyone else. It was a case of ‘dog in the manger’. Chepping Wycombe would neither supply us with water nor allow anyone else to do so.

After a long and fierce battle and questions in Parliament, they were finally forced to bring up a water supply. Their mains and those of Amersham RDC lie in some cases almost side by side and some of the houses are partly in one district and partly in another. When the water at last came, there was a drought & we watched the pipes coming nearer each day to our houses. In two days they told me, mine would be connected & there was only barely an inch left in my tank.

Then out of the blue, came a disagreement. The water Coy had dug up the Common to lay their pipes without permission & all work must stop. The rights of the common land were vested in another authority & in spite of entreaties and appeals red tape ruled that permission must be obtained through the correct channels before the work could go on.

There – a few yards from my empty tank was the end of the pipe & I had not a drop of water. In the meantime, they tested the work & rushing into the earth came a stream of water which I was powerless to make use of! When finally the mains were connected, we turned on all the taps, (I had five lots) just for the sheer joy of hearing the water running in abundance.

See also: When the Village Pond was our only Water Supply (opens in new tab)