Sedlescombe's Pump

Dr. Samuel Birch Bucknill was born in 1814 and came from a prominent family of physicians. He married Miss Pratt of Sedlescombe in 1847, and lived at Castlemens, Church Hill, Sedlescombe. According to the Parish Council Meeting minutes, in 1899 his son, Samuel Pratt Berens Bucknill, offered to provide "a Fountain and Pump on the Village Green in memory of his mother Mary Ann Bucknill and her sisters Misses Sophia Elizabeth and Harriet Catherine Pratt, daughters of the Rev. John Pratt, Rector of Sedlescombe between 1803 and 1861". From the date of his offer to provide the pump, right through to the present day, the maintenance of the pump has been a recurring topic at the Parish Council meetings, some highlights of which follow (which are surprisingly similar to Parish Council minutes I've found in other parts of the country):

1900 Well sunk and shelter built.
1909 Damage to pump seats by children.
1918 Proposal that "...a notice board be placed at the pump with a caution to any person or persons doing wilful damage".
1920 Boys cause more damage to the seats.
1922 Repairs to the Pump costing 15/-.
1923 Roof needed repairing.
1925 Children causing damage to the seats by jumping on them. Damaged drinking cup to be repaired and fixed to pump.
1928 Wood frame under lead casing of Pump found to be perished. New liner to be made of oak and spout repaired.
1928 Pump House seats in need of repair, and to be stored for the winter.
1929 Notice to be put up asking visitors not to waste water, and a plan to lock pump during the day if water supply shows signs of giving out.
1930 Sample of water taken from Village Pump found to be polluted.
1931 Police to be told that boys riding bicycles around the Village Pump were causing danger.
1933 Parish Council agreed to lock up the Village Pump for certain hours during the day to safeguard the water supply.
1933 Water from the well was found unfit for drinking purposes as it was polluted with lead, having 0.42 grain lead to the gallon. The Parish Council’s Village Green Committee recommended that the lead pump and suction pipe should be taken away and a new brass or gun-metal pump and copper suction etc. fitted within the existing lead casing. Battle RDC agreed to purchase this from W.C.Till Ltd. (ironmongers and builders' merchants) of Battle at a cost of £33-17-6.
1944 Battle RDC stated that tap water will eventually be available to everyone.
1944 Village Pump plumbed and water level found to be at 15'6".
1948 Water level 14'6".
1950 Two cherub supports smashed off lead casing of Village Pump making the top portion unsafe. Inscription defaced.
1951 Complaint about schoolchildren riding their bicycles over the Green and around the Pump House.
1951 Protecting fence around the Village Pump to be made by local blacksmith at a cost of £11.
1952 Blacksmith could not fix the fence as he could not obtain the necessary iron.
1953 Dirty condition of Pump Seats caused by children walking on them.
1953 Iron guard fitted around Pump.
1954 Cost of work to well following pollution £60-17-6.
1955 Battle RDC had struck water at a depth of149ft and a 14-day test of supply would shortly be taken.
1956 Mains water provided in village.
1958 Pump broken down.
1958 Decision to close pump down owing to pollution.
1962 Major repairs to be carried out to Pump House.
1962 Local boys continue to damage seats in Pump House.
1965 Damage to gables of Pump House caused by stone throwing.
1966 New seats at Pump House erected.
1990 New grille fitted around the pump by Simes of Hastings, following damage to the lead. Cost: £550+VAT.
2001 Pumphouse roof repaired at a total cost of £5306.22+VAT.

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