DAVID Willacy remembers how drinking water was collected in Sedgwick in years gone by:

The inhabitants of our village had to walk to the only village pump for clean drinking water.

It was situated near to the village girls’ school.

There was also a stone water trough, fed from a spring near the aqueduct. Passing horses and cattle could quench their thirst en route.

From 1820 the Lancaster-Kendal canal provided unclean drinking water for the cattle in the fields.

The stone-built, slate-roofed cottages also gave the householders a supply of water which was caught in wooden barrels; until the mid-19th century when concrete was introduced.

Shuttered concrete water tanks were cast usually on the backs of the houses to provide more water storage.

Up to around the 1930s a visit to the village pump would require several journeys per day.

We had a wooden shoulder yoke with two chains, one at each end, hanging down to hook a bucket at each side. This required considerable skill to prevent the water splashing over into your shoes.

About this time, my grandfather summoned a village meeting to discuss a new threat to everyone - the new Lupton reservoir was to provide a piped supply of water to the area, at a cost to one and all. The water supply would be levied to meet this cost.

A vote was taken, which resulted in a very firm ‘no’ to this supply.

Alas, it arrived sometime later, but the village continued to use the pump as it was free water - until one day the authorities took the cast iron pump away!

Not to be outdone, a replacement pump was installed and padlocked to the iron railing behind it. A neatly-written sign was attached, stating: ‘This water is guaranteed pure by an analytical chemist to be pure and fit for any domestic purpose.’ We still have this sign today, 90 years on.

The three new standpipes had to be used when the second pump was finally removed.

It was many years before all the houses had their own water supply connected.

Today, nearly all the houses have a water meter fitted so the actual usage can be paid for. South Lakeland District Council, over many years, has provided grants to install bathrooms and toilets.