Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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The New Water Cart at Ryde

The new water cart which the council has purchased spreads the water extremely well in the broad streets of the town, but the person who has charge of it seems possessed of a spirit of mischief, for he drives it down all the by thoroughfares streets with the object it would appear, of wetting any stray pedestrians who may be around in the narrower streets.  The machine wets the pavements as well as the street, and the only way to escape a ducking is to run into the nearest house.
A letter on the subject appears elsewhere in the issue.

Letter to the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer:

Sir,—Every one must admire the admirable spread from our new water cart, and for the wide streets nothing could be better.  Will the authorities kindly confine it to those streets?  My wife yesterday, walking up St Thomas-street by the side of the church wall, was thoroughly soaked in the lower members.                                                                                                                          Yours, &c., X.Y.Z.

The work for the men employed on the water carts changed according to the state of the weather.  In summer under a hot dry wind, they emerged from the yards and radiated over the parish.  During wet weather some were employed in cleaning the roads, others in carting materials wherever they were required.  The horses used to pull the carts needed to be strong to cope with the weight of the water and various other heavy materials.  The terrain of Ryde being very hilly, was the deciding factor.

Source: IW Observer 11 June 1881
Image: Lookandlearn.com
Article: Ann Barrett