Thursday, May 14, 2015
The "Boating Pond."
This seems hard to picture now but in 1917 quite a large expanse of water built up at the corner of Creed Street and the Stratford Road. The Market Hall was built on a slight rise and the ramp up to the railway bridge had created a natural depression. This would not have been a problem if the drain worked, but on May 17th it became blocked. You would think that it would be an easy matter to fix but the issue became literally "bogged down" in a jurisdictional dispute.
Wolverton at the time was a Rural District Council. It only became an Urban District Council, with greater powers, a few years later. So an argument developed over who was responsible - the Railway Company who built the drains in the first instance in 1840, the County Council, who had jurisdiction over such rural matters since 1888, or the Wolverton Council, who had not been charging rates for this purpose.
While this wrangling was going on the pool grew in size and children were paddling in it. Some local wag banded it as "Wolverton's Boating Pond."
By June 26th the Medical Officer intervened and told the Council that the stagnant water was a health issue, particularly with the Friday market nearby and the proximity of the Works Dining Hall. He did not mention the residents of Number 1 Creed Street, but they must have been affected. He sternly advised them to take the matter into their own hands rather than continue negotiations with the other two parties, particularly as no progress was being made.
They took his advice and the necessary work was done. Wolverton's "Boating Pond" lasted 6 weeks.