Return of an Old Friend
sailing the club patio watching the Bosuns trying to stay upright in 4
gusting 6 when an old member approached carrying a piece of wood with a
hole in it. Not unusual around boats and sailing but this was special -
the return of one of our Aquarius Mains trophies which had been missing
since the eighties and had been unearthed in his sister's attic.
There were three and they are probably fairly unique as
sports trophies. They were made from sections of the original elm water
pipes which formed the first water distribution network in London in
the early 17th century (if you could afford it).
The 12ft logs were bored through and jointed together and
fed from the New River, a canal which brought water from springs
in the Hertfordshire hills to Clerkenwell. With the expansion of London
over the previous centuries, clean water was always a problem.
You could use the Fleet or the Westbourne but these were pretty
much open sewers or directly from the Thames, give or take the odd dead
animal, or wells of doubtful quality in your back yard. Some areas had
communal pumps but one of these in the Strand caused a Cholera
epidemic which cost over 400 lives before it was shut down.
from Hertfordshire was not treated in the way it is today but it was
certainly vastly superior and cleaner than any available before. The
idea of bringing fresh water from a distance was not new, even Henry
VIII supplied Hampton Court Palace with water from the springs in Coombe
We will leave Richard to work out who is going to keep the returned
trophy polished in 2007 but in the meantime if anybody has any idea of
where the third trophy we would love to have it back.