A barrelled cylinder pump

Nowadays, we take it for granted that we can have a ready supply of water by turning on taps in our homes. Market Lavington was only connected to the mains water supply in 1936. Prior to that, water had to be collected from the dipping well near Northbrook, or from Broadwell or from a well.

At Market Lavington Museum we have evidence of a method used to pump water from a well into a high level storage tank, often situated in a roof space.

We are told that the Gye family had three such pumps, used into the 1930s, and that this one had provided water for the works at Gye’s Yard from 1780 onward. Our record card provides detail of how this functioned.

Working the handle up and down sent the bucket up and down inside the lead barrel, which had a spout near the top. Once primed, the barrel would remain full of water, retained by a one way valve at the base. The bucket incorporated a one way valve. On a down stroke, it would reach the bottom with the contents of the barrel above. On an up stroke the water would be lifted and discharged through the spout. This, in turn, would draw up another measure of water from the well.

The record card provides a diagram explaining how the pump worked.

Apparently, if you were desperate for a drink, you could put your hand over the spout and pump the handle. A vertical spurt of water would then enter the mouth if it was strategically placed over the drinking hole, labelled on the diagram.

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