chapter  1
22 Pages

‘Quarry roughs’

Piped water did not reach the village until the eve of the Great War, despite the building of a waterworks on Headington Hill, some forty years earlier.9 Water had to be drawn from the wells. (The sinking of garden wells was one of the chief domestic changes in nineteenth-century Quarry; in the middle years of the century many villagers were still having to draw their water from the ‘Old Mauls’, an abandoned claypit on the lower slopes of ShotoVer which had filled up with water.10) At Baker Vallis’s, sixteen buckets of water were drawn every night to fill the boilers. This was a job Mr Vallis did as a boy; he recalls that

it could be dangerous, especially in frosty weather. Reaching across the top of the well to pull in the full bucket, ‘you couldn’t help spilling a drop of water on the top . . . and in the bad weather it would freeze . . . you had to be pretty careful. . .’n (Even without ice there was a risk; in 1909 the twelve-year-old daughter of Razzell Bushnell was drowned while drawing water from a neighbour’s well.)12 Cottage laundries, a major village industry, also depended on garden wells; and ‘pulling water’ - a job often done by girls - is remembered as one of the most laborious of the washing-day tasks.13