Nov 242020
 

near John Knox House, High Street, EH1 1SR

The Netherbrow Wellhead
The Netherbrow Wellhead

In 1681, water was brought in by a ‘leaden pipe’ from the burns south of the town to a reservoir on Castle Hill. The reservoir supplied six wells in the High Street, including the one at Netherbrow Port. The rich, who lived on the upper floors of tall tenements, employed ‘water caddies’ to carry water upstairs.  However, by the late-18th century, the water coming to the city was not enough to provide for the rapidly growing population and supply to the wells was restricted to only three hours a day. In the early 19th century, water companies were established and new pipes introduced. Nonetheless, water supply remained inadequate both in quantity and quality. During droughts, impure surface water was pumped into the wells. The 1867 Improvement Act introduced by William Chambers, and the Improvement Scheme that followed, had considerable success in tackling these issues.

Plaque on the wellhead
Plaque on the wellhead
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