Saturday, 2 May 2015

Lich St Sewers!

One of the stories the dig has been telling us is about the development of sanitation for Lich St. Like many streets in the centre of Worcester, sanitation was pretty poor, with poor drainage and no sewers. The 1840 Board of Health is pretty scathing. Things took a while to happen, but eventually action was taken. 

At one end of the excavated Lich St is a manhole cover. We put a camera down and confirmed it was an old sewer, one which wasn't used anymore!  A map was commissioned by the Board of Health in 1870, which we have been using as part of many other sources. On it we noticed that there was an annotated blue dot and a line. We then realised that these tally with the manhole and sewer, so these were probably added to the map when the sewer was added just after 1870. In 2 Lich St (originally 35 Lich St) we can see one of pipes which connected into the main sewer, and probably comes from a toilet built in the backyard which gives us evidence of the improvements.

Lich St - the sewer ran down the centre
Manhole cover
Pipe (in diagonal masonry) going to the sewer from No.2 (or No.35 depending on numbering system) Lich St

The Board of Health map is fascinating. We have two version of it, one of in book form, but the other is one sheet – so big that we've only uncovered it once, and it took up most of the downstairs floorspace of the Guildhall! Fortunately it has also been digitised so can be used on computer which makes it lot easier to browse or print and for us to use.

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