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The Mains Drainage Scheme (Sewerage and Drainage Works) was installed in Hungerford in 1909, about six years after the Mains Waterworks.

This involved building the splendidly architectural pump house at the swing bridge north of Station Road, huge pipe-works, and the extensive "Hungerford Sewerage Treatment Works" at the east end of the common. It was one of the three great engineering works across the Common.

Photo Gallery:

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- The plan of the temporary tramway during the building works, 1 Apr 1909

- The fine "Arts and Crafts" Pump House adjacent to the canal just north of Everlands Road [Jan 2014]

- The above grounds section of the mains sewerage pipe crossing the lower common [Jan 2014]

- Hungerford Sewage Treatment Works, to the east of the Kintbury Down. [Jan 2014]

- Hungerford Sewage Treatment Works, to the east of the Kintbury Down. [Jan 2014]

- Hungerford Sewage Treatment Works, to the east of the Kintbury Down. [Jan 2014]

Jim Davis (c1990) made the following notes:

This was the last of the big disfigurements of the Port Down and was the one that, in so far as the Trustees were concerned, caused the most trouble.

The Railway and the Canal had been cut and put into operation with a minimum of trouble, but this last addition seemed to be delayed at every turn and was the subject of innumerable meetings. Whether this was due to the fact that by 1897 modern bureaucracy was already a lusty infant or not, the fact remains that it seemed sometimes that the scheme would never get going.

However in November 1898 a special meeting of the Commoners (NOT the Hocktide Jury) was convened by the Hungerford R.D.C. in accordance with the provisions of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845. There was an attendance of 35 people.

The Clerk explained that the object of the meeting was the proposed acquisition of a part of the Port Down in connection with the proposed Hungerford Sewerage and Drainage Scheme. There was a formal resolution to form a Committee to treat with the R.D.C. for the compensation to be paid for the land and the extinction of Common Rights. There were 11 nominations for this Committee and five people were elected to serve.

In June 1901 the Trustees had a letter before them from Mr Cuss, the Engineer for the Hungerford Drainage Scheme asking if the Trustees would allow sufficient gravel to be removed from the Port Down to raise the level in Phelps Meadow (Mill Mead) for the proposed Pumping Station and also if the Trustees would give the gravel free of charge. The Trustees replied that in view of the rights of Common involved they could not possibly allow that amount of gravel to be taken.

In the August of that year the Constable informed the Feoffees that he had called them together to consider whether they would permit the Hungerford R.D.C. to acquire land at the site of the old gravel pits at the east end of the Common known as the Hospital.

The Trustees decided to call a meeting of the Commoners with a recommendation to them that the required outfall works should be situated as described above on a lease of 35 years at £5 per acre.

The meeting was duly called, but so few commoners attended that the meeting was abandoned, but at another meeting arranged for a month later the Commoners agreed to raise no objection to the use of the land at the eastern end of the Common by a show of hands. Thirteen were for the proposal and ten were against and the proposal was declared carried, but it could hardly be said that the attendance and the voting revealed any great enthusiasm for "Mod. Cons"!

May 18th 1903 saw a meeting of the Free Suitors and Commoners to decide at the instance of the Clerk to the R.D.C. if the land required for the outfall works could be bought or exchanged. The meeting learned that the engineer in charge recommended the use of that piece of the Common, west of the Cow Bridge between the railway and the Canal.

The meeting passed a resolution to the effect that 2acr 3r should be leased for fifty years at £15 per annum by 27 votes to 11.

April 1904. The Clerk informed the Trustees that the Board of Agriculture had declined to sanction a lease for a portion of the Common for a Sewerage Works, but required the District Council to buy the land and also to add other land to the Common in place of that taken. The R.D.C. also wished to know if the Trustees would sell a piece of land in the vicinity of the Hurdle House.

After some discussion it was resolved that the R.D.C. be asked to buy a piece of land adjoining the Common, the property of the Church Wardens and add that piece of the Port Down, free of tithe and land tax in place of that taken for the outfall.

Another meeting of the Commoners was convened in August 1904 by the Hungerford District Council. The Constable was voted into the Chair and the object of the meeting called under the Lands Consolidation Act of 1845, was explained by the Town Clerk.

Five Commoners were elected to treat with the R.D.C. in the matter of compensation for the land proposed to be taken by the R.D.C. and the extinction of Common Rights over it.

March 1905. A meeting of the Commoners of Hungerford was called by the Board of Agriculture and fisheries under the provisions of the Commonable Rights Compensation Act of 1882 and the Board of Agriculture Act of 1889.

It was proposed that "The compensation for the extinguishment of Common Rights over the portion of Hungerford Common containing 2acr 3r or thereabouts which the Hungerford R.D.C. propose to take be applied to the purchase of land to be added to and used as part of the Common. The voting was 7 in favour and 2 against and the motion was declared carried.

In view of the intense indignation shown by the Commoners at any infringement of their Rights, the attendances at these meetings was surprisingly low, but may possibly be accounted for by the fact that no doubt many of these meetings were held during normal working and business hours.

However, whether on account of the attendance or not the result of the March meeting was not considered to be satisfactory, because in June 1905 the Commoners were again called to consider the question of compensation.

This time there was a much larger gathering and it was decided that voting should be determined by the number of Common Rights held by each person. The proposal before the meeting was the same as before, namely that the monies received in compensation should be applied to the purchase of additional land to be added to the Common.

Seven Commoners with a total of 26 Common Rights voted for the motion and 22 Commoners with a total of 33 Common Rights voted against the motion, which was declared lost.

It is most interesting that Colonel Willes of Hungerford Park voted for the motion with 12 Common Rights. He had acquired these rights by purchase from the Canal Company, these being rights attached to houses demolished when the Canal was cut.

This case was echoed at a meeting of the Feoffees on May 28th 1933, when a letter from the Great Western Railway, who had in the meanwhile bought the Canal, asked that the Common Rights of the Canal Company or of G.S. Willes, Esq. be called at the next Hocktide Court. The Trustees decided to inform the Railway that they did not recognise the existence of these rights.

In March 1906 a further meeting of the owners of properties with Common Rights was arranged for further discussion as to use of the Common for a Sewerage Outfall.

Nothing more happened until March 1907 when a Special Meeting of the Commoners was held convened by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries under the provisions of the Commonable Rights Compensation Act and the Board of Agriculture Act of 1889. The meeting was adjourned for a week in the absence of the Constable, but was duly held a week later.

It was proposed "That the Commoners agree to sell the agreed amount of land to the R.D.C. at as reasonable a price as can be arranged. This was carried by 32 votes to 1.

April 1907 - The Committee of Commoners appointed to deal with the R.D.C. met the representatives of that body and went into the question of compensation for the land and extinguishment of Common Rights. The Commoners said they were prepared to sell that part of the Common known as The Hospital at £160 per acre and any portion of the Common between Cow Bridge and the Red Bridge at £200 per acre and that in the event of an Easement being required for pipes across the Common the terms would be agreed later. Further that if a road was required to be made the rent would be £1 per annum, the Council to keep the road in repair.

On the 26th April a further meeting of the Freeholders and Commoners discussed the question of the disposal of the monies paid for the extinguishment of Common Rights over the land to be taken for the Sewerage Works. It was proposed and seconded that the monies be applied to the purchase of land to add to Hungerford Common.

An amendment proposed that the money be held in the Bank pending a further meeting of the Commoners. The amendment was carried.

On June 20th 1907 the Freeholders and Commoners discussed further the question of compensation for loss of Commonable Rights. It was resolved to ask the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to call a properly constituted meeting, the Board to be informed that the Sewerage Scheme must remain in abeyance until the matter of compensation had been settled.

September 1907. The Constable and Trustees resolved that in view of interest now taken by the Charity Commissioners the consent of the Commissioners should be sought before any Common Land was sold.

In November 1907 a meeting of the persons interested in compensation for Commonable Rights resulted in the adoption of the following proposal unanimously. "The money paid for the extinguishment of Common Rights over such portion of Hungerford Common as may be taken by the Hungerford Rural District Council for a Sewerage Outfall Works be applied for the improvement of the remained of the Common Land".

At a meeting of the Constable and trustees on January 16th 1908 a letter from the Charity Commissioners giving consent to the sale was read, followed by the reading of the proposed agreement between the Feoffees (as owners of the soil) and the Hungerford R.D.C. for the sale of the Common. The agreement was approved and siqned by the Constable and Feoffees.

The final Act in this sale of land was delayed until February 1st 1909, when the Deeds of Conveyance from the Official Trustee of Charity Lands to the R.D.C. for the part of the Common above and 640 square feet of Mill Mead for a Pumping Station were formally exchanged.

I have dealt at; some considerable length upon this transaction, which made the third blemish upon the natural beauty of the Port Down. It must be borne in mind that the Hungerford R.D.C. did not have the backing of an Act of Parliament that both the Feoffees and the Commoners were rightly somewhat cautious and hesitant about the transaction.

Note - Reference Mill Mead. At this time the Great Western Railway, who had acquired the K and A Canal, produced a map which showed that the Railway claimed 9' of bank from water's edge at the Swing Bridge and 12' at the Sheep Bridge.

The Tramway

The works were carried out by Messrs Collier & Catley, of St Mary's Butts, Reading. On 1 Apr 1909 they took out an agreement with the Great Western Railway to instal a 2' gauge tramway from the railway siding in the mid part of the common, to assist their workers with transfering materials from the railway to the lower common.

There are copies of the plan in the Photo Gallery; follow this link for the GWR agreement 1 Apr 1909. (With thanks to Roger Day for this information, Mar 2016).

Extension to the Sewage Treatment Works, 1966

In January 1966 work commenced on an extension to the Sewerage Works and the system generally. It was agreed to grant a lease of 21 years to the R.D.C. of a piece of land to the East of the existing works, provided that a foot path was made giving the Commoners access for sporting purposes. This caused a good deal of difficulty, but this was finally surmounted by the issue of a number of keys for the use of Commoners.

See also:

- Waterworks, 1903

- Gas Works, 1845

- Hungerford Common

GWR agreement for the Tramway, 1 Apr 1909