Mrs Becher's Diary


Rayners – The LCC School for the Deaf

When Sir Philip died there was not sufficient money for the grandson to reside at Rayners and it lay empty for a long time.

Finally it was bought by the L.C.C. for a school for the deaf (with a second defect) and the children were moved in there from their old quarters in East Ham. There were two baths only in the house and these were both in one room. As a private home it must have been awkward but in a school such as the one now in residence, it is probably a convenience. In the days of Sir Philip, there was no water supply to the village and each house had a system of tanks into which the rain water flowed from the roof. Up at Rayners was what was believed to be an old artesian well with pure water. This was pumped up daily at a certain hour by Hubbard (the deaf mechanic). Every resident not wishing to drink rain water, had an arrangement with a school child to fetch daily a can of this water for drinking purposes. Nearly all the older children were thus employed to the great assistance of the family incomes. In his wish to increase the facilities of the village to procure pure water, Sir Philip was occupied, at the time of his death, in deepening and extending this well at a cost of about £400.

The first act of the L.C.C. was to test the water and this, to the amusement of the whole village, was found to be unsuitable – nay polluted and unfit for the children coming from East Ham to drink!