The Village Water PumpsVillage Water Pump - 1915

At the outbreak of the First World War all of the water available to the residents of Burbage came from wells or the communal pumps like the one shown here outside the Cross Keys. It was because this street scene would have been so familiar to the men from Burbage going off to fight for King and Country, that in the centenary year of the guns falling silent at the end of this Great War, a pump has been returned to the spot outside the Cross Keys.

Whilst the war was in progress, in 1915 clean water supply was finally brought to the village, and over a period the communal pumps, no longer required, were removed. Clean water had been the subject of aspiration for the village for over 40 years. The network of pumps and wells worked very well until times of drought when supplies dried up and this was responsible for outbreaks of cholera which struck the village periodically. There were four serious outbreaks of fever in the 19th century. One of the worst recorded outbreaks of cholera hit the area in 1857.

Many families were bereaved; some even lost all its members. Edwin Archer a shoemaker the nephew of George Archer the parish clerk died along with his brother, wife and baby son, the grave can be seen in St Catherine's Church yard.

The Burbage debating society in 1887 lead by K.B. de La Bere suggested various schemes. One of which was to sink a deep well in the rectory grounds or on Benjamin Hurst's land adjoining the Grove but the costs were always considered prohibitive.

Eventually it was Burbage's neighbour Hinckley which finally allowed a clean water supply to be brought to the village. Hinckley had a secured a water supply at Snarestone for the town for its own water supply. The Hinckley Times recorded "Snarestone yielded so abundant a supply that they were able to negotiate with Burbage without risking the safety of their own requirements".

The scheme was officially turned-on at a ceremony on Friday evening 30th July 1915 by the Chairman of the Water Committee Mr Charles Hands at a large gathering. In attendance was Mr Edward Crump who was the town's engineer and designer of the water scheme.

Village Water Pump - 2018Mr Hands was presented with a stop-cock memento of the occasion which had the following inscription: "Presented to Mr C Hands, chairman of the Water Committee, by E.H. Crump A.M.I.C.E., engineer, on the opening of the Burbage waterworks, July 30th, 1915". A toast to the health of Mr Crump was then made with Mr G Dakin, the proposer, remarking that whatever Mr Crump took in hand, he entered with his whole heart and soul.

Mr Crump would go on to serve a distinguished career with the Royal Engineers in the war himself, mentioned four times in dispatches and was decorated with the OBE and Portuguese order of Aviz. He later returned to Burbage to live for many years at Tong Lodge, Church Street.

As part of the end of World War One Centenary Commemorations a replica of the village pump was unveiled close to its original location near the Cross Keys public house on 20 February 2019. The plaque reads:

"The Village Pump: This photograph, taken outside The Cross Keys, shows a street scene that would have been familiar to the men and women setting off from Burbage to serve in the First World War.

To commemorate those who never returned, a pump again was installed in the village centre in the centenary year of the end of the conflict.

Clean water was finally brought to the village in 1915, and, over time, communal pumps like this one were removed.

Burbage's permanent water supply was officially turned on at a ceremony on 30th July 1915 by the Chairman of Burbage Water Committee Mr Charles Hands and town engineer Mr Edward Crump."



The installation of pump was supported by G Sellars & Co. Ltd. Independent Funeral Directors and Memorial Masons of Hinckley