Vestry, 1871

Buckingham Advertiser, 15 April

  On Thursday morning last an adjourned vestry meeting was held, the chief business of which was “To consider the best means of supplying the town with suitable tanks, &c., for feeding the engine in time of fire.”

  Mr. French said that he had been asked to give the report of the committee, and he thought he could do so in a verbal manner.  He being Superintendent of the fire brigade, was perhaps better acquainted with the matter in question than some of the others present.  Twelve months ago an effort was made to get the town supplied with a fire engine, and when that was done, it was found there was a bad supply of water.  An engine such as the one procured could not be well supplied with the present quantity of water at hand, and the means of procuring it.  He had spoken to several fire brigade superintendents, and they agreed that wells were of no use for supplying such an engine with water.  The scheme which the Committee thought of laying before the meeting was that one large tank be made near the Union [i.e. Workhouse], and pipes all over the town from it.  The cost of filling the tank would be 2s for 300 gallons.  The pipes will be the property of the public, and if people want to use the water they will have to pay for it, and fill the pipes again.  The expenses would be rather heavy.  It had been said against that, that it would fall too heavily on the small ratepayers, and the farmers would pay comparatively nothing.  But see the advantage the former gets; he has the advantage of having the water close to his door, whereas the farmer lives away from it altogether, and considering that much, they could not ask the farmer to pay as much.  It has also been urged that as the engine was raised voluntarily, the tank, &c., should be made voluntarily.  But could they ask people in the country to subscribe to a thing which will not be of the slightest use to them?  The work will, if this meeting sanction it, be done in the cheapest manner possible, and by any person who should tender the lowest.  He thought he had shown a plan which would be found to answer well.

  Mr. Barton thought Mr. French had taken a deal of pains in laying the matter so clearly before them.  There was one correction he wished to make with regard to a handbill which had been circulated, namely that it would not be a “yearly expenditure” but would be done at once.

  Mr. Ingram wished to know what sum of money was required to carry out this scheme.  No one had stated the amount required.  If they want £1,000 why not say so?

  Mr. French did not come to ask for the money, he only came to ask them to sanction the work being done.

  Mr. Neal was glad the committee had laid the matter so clearly before them.  He thought they had done well.  If the meeting considered they had done wrong why not someone suggest a better scheme?

  Mr. East wished to know the amount they proposed to lay out.

  Mr. French should say it would cost something like £270.

  The remarks at this juncture were quite of a personal character.

  Mr. East: There is a proposition before the meeting.  Let us go at it in a business-like manner.  Doesn’t it seem strange that if there is such a good supply of water to the well that when the engine was taken there the other day it was found to contain 130 gallons.

  Mr. Sear said it was proposed to provide a tank.  If that were done then could the committee guarantee a constant supply of water.  If that could be done he for one would support the scheme.

  Mr. Sellar: I did not come here to oppose any scheme, but I am of the opinion that the well would not hold sufficient water to supply Winslow.  If the well was exhausted one day go to it the next and you would find scarcely any water.  When a well is once drained the spring begins to fail.  You want 5,000 gallons of water for the parish, whereas a pump could not be found to pump (by manual labor) more than 12 gallons a minute.  You can’t make our pumps force the water up hill.  On the whole he was of opinion that the scheme would not answer.

  Mr. Cowley suggested that they could have the tank what depth they liked.  If 6,000 gallons was not enough then have it to hold more.

  Mr. Wigley said he was sure there was no one in the town who would oppose a scheme for getting a good supply of water in case of a fire.  They seemed to fear that a sufficient supply of water can’t be got from that well.  If not from there then get it from somewhere else, but don’t abandon it altogether.

  Mr. Ingram proposed that the scheme be abandoned altogether.

  Mr. William Keys seconded the proposal.

  Mr. W. H. French proposed an amendment - “That more men be added to the Committee; that an estimate be prepared and laid before the next vestry, which takes place on the 26th November, during which time the ratepayers would have time to consider it fully.”

  Mr. Wigley seconded the amendment, which was met and carried by 25 votes to 20 who voted against it.

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Copyright 15 July, 2020