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Tank Yard

tankyard.jpgThe plan, by Francis 7th Duke of Bedford, for a model agricultural village, included a water supply and sewerage scheme. The centre part of this was the magnificent 'Jacobean' style building, with a 96 foot high tower now known as The Bedford Hall (off Station Road).

The building was erected by 1855 at a cost of £22,446 2s 8d and was built from local brick and dressed stone from Stibbington. Much of this expenditure is now hidden in the massive pyramidal brick foundations and the cellar plant room.

Fresh water was drawn from the Thorney River, held in a reservoir to settle and be purified and then pumped up the tower cast iron tank on the sixth floor (this is still in place). It was then fed, by gravity, to the houses in the village. Sewerage was then collected from the houses, again by gravity, and pumped in to another holding tank in the tower where it was then distributed about the allotments to the north of the houses on Wisbech Road.

This pumping of water and sewerage up to the tanks was done by a pair of double action beam pumps in the cellar, and up through the floor of what is now the entrance to the hall. There were only four other pumps of this kind ever built; two in London and two in France. These pumps were removed n 1934.


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