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Clifton Village Pump

Clifton War Memorial August 2009 - built on the site of the village pump
Clifton War Memorial August 2009 - built on the site of the village pump

The canopy around the Village Pump was built by Clifton Rector, Henry Hugh Miles in 1881. Clifton Parish Council minutes [PCClifton1/1] make several mentions of the pump. A pump was a vital piece of village infrastructure. Before the early to mid 20th century piped water was not provided to houses in the country, which thus had to rely either on a well or a pump for all their water needs.

The minutes suggest that Clifton may have been quite an early recipient of piped water, as by 1912 the pump was no longer important (a view confirmed by the 1927 valuation visits to houses under the auspices of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925). The minutes also show that juvenile delinquency is not an entirely modern phenomenon. Thus, on 20th April 1899 it was minuted: "A police report from P. C. Curtis was read charging a boy with swinging on the handle of the Parish Pump, after having been cautioned. Mr. Norris moved that the Chairman be authorised to interview the boy, reprimand him, and caution him with proceedings before the magistrates if the circumstance occurs again".

On 10th October 1912: "A discussion on the Pump disclosed the fact that it was minus one wheel; removed apparently to prevent children mischievously using the Pump and it was resolved on the motion of Mr. Harwood, seconded by Mr. Inskip, that the wheel be replaced, the handles of both wheels removed, and the wheels padlocked to prevent all use of Pump. Coupled with this was a resolution touching upon nuisances and damage committed on or near the Pump. That the constable, upon observing damage or nuisance being done, should report to the Vice Chairman, who shall call a special meeting of this Council to decide whether a prosecution shall ensue".

On 8th October 1914: "The Council were again concerned with the nuisances committed in and near the Parish Pump, and after much discussion it was resolved upon the motion of Mr. Stevens, seconded by Mr. Norris that the Pump be wired in".

In 1922 the village's war memorial was unveiled. It stood where the pump had stood, using the pump's old casing.