Opening of the Groby Trough
A few years ago a very heavy load was
removed from the Old Hall front garden and placed in the car
park at the Village Hall. Perhaps you have not noticed it but
when this Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough was 'opened' in
late summer in 1909, the event brought crowds. There was a parade
of horses down Markfield Road to join the many people gathered
on the ground in front of the Chaplins, the butchers, that is.
Everyone wore their best clothes, the women's hats were remarkable.
The words on the front were and still
are "Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, 70
Victoria St, S.W".
Groby Heritage Group has several copies
of photographs of the momentous occasion. They had been postcards
which could be sent to friends and relatives. We contacted Wigston
Record Office to find out more and in an old book was found an
address for 'The Drinking Fountain Association' in Chislehurst,
Kent. Following our letter requesting information about the Association
and enclosing copies of our photos, we were intrigued to be told
that the Association was still providing drinking fountains in
this country and overseas. An article in the Punch magazine at
the time of the Great Exhibition in 1851 highlighting the filthy
state of London water, caused Samuel Gurney M.P. to set up the
Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association in 1859. Prince
Albert and the Archbishop of Canterbury had a deep interest in
the objects of the Association. The first fountain was unveiled
on 21 April 1859 at St Sepulchre's Church, Snow Hill. Within
11 years 140 fountains and 153 cattle troughs were in place.
Since its inception 4,000 drinking fountains, nearly 1,000 cattle
troughs and 40 water wells overseas have been provided.
We hope you will now have more respect
for our trough. We would like to see the words restored so that
they can easily be read. We know of a similar trough in Llangollen,
Wales. Have you noticed one on your travels? Please let us know.
By Gill Waldram