Thursday, 1 October 2009

A Hidden Wimbledon Horse Trough

There's a group of people who follow Non-League Football known as 'ground-hoppers' whose greatest joy is to visit as many different football grounds as possible. Not unlike obsessive bird-watchers determined to 'tick off' another species from the list, their enjoyment seems to come mainly from the satisfaction of acquiring another ground and another programme (apparently it doesn't count unless you get a programme to prove you were there and beware the wrath of a hopper who doesn't get at least a team sheet at the end of the day!).

Well I don't know if there's a similar group of individuals out there hunting down horse troughs but it's interesting to me that some of the most visited and searched for items on this blog are those horse-trough related. If someone hasn't already started a definitive list of surviving Metropolitan Association Horse & Cattle Trough's I'm sure it's only a matter of time...

So, always happy to help out, I thought any budding 'trough-ticker' might be interested to hear of this example that has somehow strayed from its original site.
As you can see the move doesn't seem to have done it much harm and it looks happily settled in its new surroundings. The original metal cover is still over the end, it has a couple of shiny red fire buckets hanging off it and the whole thing is actually looking pretty tidy. Best of all this particular trough has ended up in a stable-yard and is constantly surrounded by horses. Sort of an ideal retirement home for it really...
I came across it in the stable yard of the Wimbledon Common Rangers. The current Rangers didn't know of its original position but I'm sure it must have been somewhere on the common itself, otherwise I doubt they'd have been allowed to move it.

The inscription on the end says that it's the gift of 'Three Friends'. I'm sure I've seen this inscription before so I wouldn't be surprised if the three friend's donations are responsible for a number of troughs. It would be interesting to see if they are clustered in one area or spread out evenly throughout London though. Maybe a horse trough expert could fill me in?


Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, there is no 'official' trough spotting group, but I have a Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association group at collecting photographs of extant Meropolitan Troughs/Fountains as a sort of unofficial project. You would be most welcome to add your finds to ours.

Hundreds (if not thousands) of troughs and fountains were installed as public water supplies were extended in the 1800s. Most were in London but many more were installed across the UK and several are known to have been exported.

Conversely, many were removed as piped water to homes became the norm and motorised vehicles replaced horses, but it's likely that, as here, many were not lost completely, just moved.

Jol Martyn-Clark said...

Love your blog. Mine is quite a way behind yours. I never even thought of street furniture but it certainly sums up the idea. Like to think that it is the past poking up into the present!

nike free run 2 said...

I think the spurs were for the painter to stand on so he wouldn't breach Health and Safety by stretching too far above his head