|Mains Piped Water, from Nine
Wells arrived in St David's in 1901/2 supplied by The St David's
Water & Gas Company, which had been formed around 1898/9. The
Directors of the company were William Bentham Martin, Charles
Hibbert Binney and Arthur Henry Brown.
Prior to the arrival of piped water supply,
St David's like so many other settlements relied on wells to
provide water. The Ordnance Survey map of 1889 shows the
location of a good number of wells in St David's, some with
pumps. Not all wells are recorded as those within a property
were often omitted. All wells relied on the ground water being
replenished and in St David's the upper strata into which most
of the wells were sunk is water bearing material (poor), which
allows the seepage of ground water (rainfall) into the well.
In mid-victorian times, it was a
requirement under a Public Health Act of Parliament 1875, that
public wells or pumps should be provided by the local
authority or some other local body and sometimes this
requirement was carried out by the church or the parish council.
At St David's and before the arrival of piped water, it is known
that there were four major public wells, located at the High St.
28, Waun Gwla, Quickwell and Lower Moor.
In the autumn of 1899 the St David's
parish council was seeking to deepen the High Street well so as
to increase the water supply for the public. The location of
this well was adjacent to the east gable of the premises known
as The City Stores in the High Street which was served by a
From mid 19th century it was a requirement
of Parliament that when a local authority or private company
proposed to supply water to an area, legislation required that
they obtain an Act of Parliament (known as a Water Act).
In 1898/9 The St David's Water & Gas
Company instructed a consulting civil engineer, Togarmah Rees of
Newport, Monmouthshire, to design and prepare drawings and
supporting documents for a water supply scheme for St David's,
details of which were included in the company's application to
Parliament for a Water Act, as summarised under Section 21 of
the Act. The Act received Royal Assent on 10th June 1899. (note:
The Act also allowed for the provision of water to Solva).
The consultants selected a source of
suitable water at Nine Wells, map ref. 178776 224812 located
about two miles from St David's on the road to Solva. The choice
of Nine Wells was no doubt due to the large number of springs
shown on the 1889 O.S. map. The analysis of the water, as given
on a sample taken later in 1931, indicates that the sample taken
was clear, bright and free from more than a trace of suspended
matter and that the water formed a satisfactory supply for
drinking and domestic purposes.
|Briefly the scheme
consisted at Nine Wells, of an underground 6 foot diameter,
12ft. or so deep collecting chamber over which was built the
Nine Wells Pumping Station, (now converted into a dwelling
house). Water was pumped from Nine Wells to an above ground
service reservoir, capacity about 50,000 gallons located on
the high ground on the south side of the St David's to Solva
road near Llandruidion, and a supply pipeline to St David's
about 2 miles distant. Construction work commenced in
Water supply from
Nine Wells was available in the City from 1901/2 and over
time houses requesting water supply were connected up, as
supplied by the St David's Water & Gas Company. Well water
remained available for some time to come.
The 'collecting chamber' in the pumping station.
Note the outflow pipe was to the left.
The water company continued to operate,
but by 1915 it had run into financial difficulties and the
undertaking was eventually disposed of by the Receiver in
October 1915. The directors of the new company were local
business men, David Evans, J. W. Evans, E. R. Evans and Henry
Evans as company secretary.
In the 1930's due to an increase in the
demand for water brought on by the flushing inside toilet, an
additional underground collecting chamber was built just across
the road from the Nine Wells pumping station and connected at
low level to the chamber in the pumping station. Also in the
1930's the service reservoir at Llandruidion was increased in
size by raising the wall height by about 6ft.
The fenced in underground reservoir.
Note in the foreground the rock has been cut in to, to help
the coal lorry reverse to tip the coal into the pumping
|According to a 'Water
Survey for Great Britain' report submitted in 1935 by the St
David's Water & Gas Company to the Ministry of Health, the
yield of the source at Nine Wells was around 7,000 gallons
per hour and the pumping per day was for 4 to 7 hours. The
maximum daily yield available was up to 50,000 gallons which
was more than enough to supply St David's during the 1930'3
The St David's Water
& Gas Company continued to supply St David's with water and
later directors included Henry Albert Nash, his son David
Nash became Company secretary. In 1945/50 the Company was
taken over by the Haverfordwest Rural District Council and
later became part of the Pembrokeshire Water Board, where
water was also supplied from a source in the Preseli Hills.
In 1974 Welsh Water took over most of the
water authorities in Wales. (Note: the gas side of the company
was nationalised in 1948). The disused pumping station was sold
in 1979 by the Pembrokeshire Water Board to the present owners
who converted the building into a dwelling house in 1990.
Due to this conversion, the
outflow pipe now runs from the reservoir underground and comes out
just below the car park near the National Trust plaque.
Researched and written by Howard Jones, F.I.C.E. May
Many thanks to: Gerald Nash, St Fagans; Nikki Bosworth,
Pembrokeshire Record Office; Andrew & Doug Malein, Pen Pant
Farm, Solva; Dr G. W. Middleton, St Davids