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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/82

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s. XL JAN. 2*. ura.

Conduit mead, whereon New Bond Street, Conduit Street, and Brook Street were after- wards built, was granted by the City of London for ninety-nine years at a nominal rent of 81. a year.


As stated at 9 th S. iv. 15, I saw similar pipes to those referred to in his deeply interesting article by MR. W. L. BUTTON un- earthed in Clifford Street in 1890. These pipes were doubtless contemporaneous with those recently found in New Bond Street, so perhaps I may be allowed to reproduce the note I made twelve years ago in my common- place book :

" Passing down this [Clifford] street on the even- ing of Saturday, 30 August, 1890, I observed that the roadway in the centre had been taken up for some distance. From the cavity which had been made several tree trunks had been excavated. They formed a series of pipes for water, having been bored, like wooden pump-cases, with a circular hole down the centre. One end had then been tapered and the other enlarged, so that they could be fitted into each other, and thus form one continuous line of pipes. In some cases the bark of the tree was still visible, some were decayed and useless, while others appeared to be quite sound. I could not ascertain how old they were."

Apparently similar pipes have been ex- humed all over this locality during many years past. In the Pall Mall Gazette of 24 May, 1882, was the following note :

"Some recent excavations in Berkeley Square brought to light one of those curious relics of old London which are every now and then being ex- posed in our streets. In the sixteenth century London was supplied with water from the Thames by means of wooden pipes invented by one Peter Morris or Maurice, a Dutchman, who in 1580 obtained a right from the Corporation to erect machinery to supply what many householders had been compelled to purchase, a tankard at a time, from the water-bearers. Maurice's works were erected at old London Bridge, and his water-pipes were hollowed out of the stems of trees, tightly fitted into each other, much after the manner of the common sewer-pipe of to-day. Some wooden piping of the kind devised by this ingenious Dutchman has recently been dug up in Berkeley Square ; but it is probably a part of the works of the New River Company, which so far adopted Maurice's plan that it originally supplied water through pipes formed of the stems of small elm trees, denuded of bark, drilled through the centre, and cut to lengths of about six feet. Some nineteen years ago a con- siderable length of this wooden piping was exhumed in Pall Mail/'

In a note in its issue of 29 October, 1892, the Builder, alluding to Aldbo rough House, in Stratford Place, Oxford Street, says :

"It stood very near to the site of the 'Lord Mayor's Banquetting House,' that had remained until 1737, whither the Corporation used to repair annually, on September 18, after their visit to the

several conduits in this quarter, whence water had been taken to the City from a very early period. In his book upon Marylebone parish, 1833, T. Smith

says:' The water-pipes were not always

embedded in the earth, as is the present custom, but enclosed in a capacious arch of brickwork on a table of stone, into which workmen could descend to repair any decay or accident. An arch of this description was dis- covered some years ago in Bond Street, leading

from the conduits at Tyburn and has since been

converted into a sewer.' We are credibly informed that an arch of the fashion he describes has been found beneath the pavement in Oxford Street, by the corner of North Audley Street, at a spot where a conduit-head formerly stood."

Writing to the Times of 25 April, 1896, Mr. Clement Cheese said :

" Walking along Bond Street a few days since, I noticed that in excavating the road for some purpose the labourers had turned up some very fine Bathstone pipes, drilled out of the solid stone, which are evidently a reminiscence of the Roman occupation. The pipes had apparently been used for conveying water. They are exceedingly well-cut, handsome pipes, about iO inches inner diameter, with a shell from 3 inches to 4 inches. I saw two or three intact, but most of them had been smashed. Lying beside these pipes was one of the original New River pipes, a burnt-out willow trunk, still holding together, but not worthy of comparison with the work of a long anterior date."

More recently, but I am unfortunately without the date, " Bloomsbury " contributed the following paragraph to the City Press :

" The excavations which have recently been in progress near the north-western end of Shaftesbury Avenue in connexion with some street improvements have brought to light some remarkably interesting remains of about the thirteenth century. At a depth from the surface of about four feet the ancient trunks of two pollard oak trees were unearthed. Each trunk was about ten feet in length, and entirely unhewn save at each end. They were pierced lengthwise by a circular hole about six inches in diameter, and one end of each trunk had been hewn into the form of a truncated cone, so as to fit into a corresponding hollow in the next trunk. There can be no doubt that these primitive pipes were intended to convey water, probably from the springs which existed near the old Southampton House, north of Great Russell Street, to the common spring or conduit, which was situated close by the old stone cross in the village of St. Giles, called Aldwych Cross. Within the last few days further remains of one of these curious water-pipes have been found in a very broken state, but similarly shaped, and evidently forming one of the same system of water supply as the others."

Not being on the spot, I am unable to bring any expert criticism to bear on the above collected statements, but I have thought they may possibly prove useful in the hands of others, and also in some respects serve as annotations to MR. W. L. BUTTON'S scholarly and interesting article.


West Haddon, Northamptonshire,