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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: D204, DA

Classified by OpenAIRE into

mesheuropmc: food and beverages
From 1884 onwards, Britain experienced a series of major droughts, which reached their peak in the ‘Long Drought’ (1890-1909). Despite being imagined as a wet part of the world, rural Wales was hard hit as many communities did not have access to reliable water supplies. As medical officers of health and newspapers talked about water famines, alarm focused on questions of purity and disease as drought was presented as a serious health risk. Using rural Wales as a case study, this essay explores vulnerabilities to water scarcity during periods of drought to examine the material and socio-political impact of water scarcity and the resulting public health problems faced in rural areas. In addressing how droughts in rural communities were physical and social phenomena that generated considerable alarm about infectious disease, this essay also reveals how periods of water scarcity were an important determinant in improvements to rural water provision.
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    • RSA, 1894, MH 12/16651, TNA; Williams, Sanitary Survey of Glamorganshire, 80; 'Famine and Epidemic', South Wales Daily Post, 25 August 1899; Welsh Gazette and West Wales Advertiser, 30 May 1901, 5; Rhayader RDC, MOH annual report, 1904, MH 97/167, TNA; Llanelli RDC, Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health for the Year 1907, MH 97/ 147, TNA; Crickhowel RDC, Medical Officer's Annual Report, 1911, MH 97/128, TNA.
    • 65'Scarcity of Water in the Rhymney Valley', Cardiff Times, 8 August 1885, 8.
    • 66See, Taylor et al, 'Drought is Normal', 584; 'The Drought', Western Mail, 7 July 1887; 'Waste of Water', Wrexham Advertiser, 16 July 1887, 5; 'Drought in the Rhondda District', Cardiff Times, 22 June 1895; 'The Drought', Evening Express, 31 May 1895, 3.
    • 67See, for example, Wrexham Advertiser, 4 April 1884, 5; 'The Drought', Western Mail, 7 July 1887; 'The Water Supply', Wrexham Advertiser, 20 August 1887, 8.
    • 68'What the Drought means', Western Mail, 11 May 1893.
    • 69B. Short, 'Rural Demography, 1850-1914', in E. J. T.
    • Collins, ed., The Agrarian History of England and Wales: Volume VII 1850-1914 part 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 1271; Reay, Microhistories, 68-96; Anne Hardy, The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Diseases and the Rise of Preventive Medicine, 1856-1900 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 90; Denbighshire County Council, Annual Report on the Health of Denbighshire for the Year 1911, MH 97/8, TNA; B. Seebohm Rowntree and Mary Kendall, How the Labourer Lives (London: Thomas Nelson, 1913).
    • 101Twenty Second Annual Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Abergavenny Rural Sanitary District (Abergavenny, 1895), 5.
    • 102Caernarvonshire combined Sanitary Districts Report for the Year Ending December 31st 1893 (Caernarvonshire, 1894), 17.
    • 103See, for example, 'Our Water Supply', Cardiff Times, 3 August 1889; 'Government Inquiry at Denbigh', Wrexham Advertiser, 3 May 1890, 3; MOH annual report, Mold Division, 1894, MH 97/142, TNA; Bridgend and Cowbridge RSA minutes, 17 June 1894, UB/68/5, GA; 'Water Supply in Carnarvon Union', North Wales Express, 11 August 1893, 8; Weekly News and Visitors' Chronicle for Colwyn Bay, 10 August 1900, 2.
    • 104Trentmann, Empire of Things, 185-86; Bernie Eccleston, Pumps, Pipes and Purity: The Turbulent Social History of Providing the Public with Enough Safe Water in the Thirsk District and North Yorkshire from 1875 (York: York Publishing Services, 2012).
    • 105Annual Report on the Sanitary Condition of Abergavenny RDC, 1903, MH 97/118, TNA.
    • 106Pontardawe RSA (Western Division) sanitary report for 1894, MH 12/16436, TNA.
    • 107'Rural Water Supplies and the Recent Drought', Rhyl Journal, 11 July 1897, 4; MOH annual report, Holywell division, 1897, MH 97/142, ibid., 1899; Annual Report of Dr James Williams, Medical Officer of Health for the Holywell District, 1905, MH 97/142, TNA.
    • 108LGB Circular, Water Supply, 29 July 1874, UC/95/2, GA; Cowbridge RDC minute book, 1895-98, RDCOW/C/1/1, GA; Gelligaer and Rhigos RDC minutes, 26 January 1899, 6 May 1899, 25 May 1899, RDGR/C/1/1, GA.
    • 109MOH annual reports, Rhayader division, 1887, 1892, MH 97/167, TNA.
    • 110'The Llandudno Water Supply', North Wales Chronicle, 23 June 1888.
    • 111See, Roberts, 'Developing the Untapped Wealth of Britain's “Celtic Fringe”', 121-33; Roberts, 'Waterworks and Commemoration', 305-25; Coopey, 'Politics, Imperialism and Engineering', 375-8.
    • 112'A Question for the County', Western Mail, 22 June 1895.
    • 113Bridgend and Cowbridge RSA minutes, 17 August 1895; UB/68/5, GA.
    • 114'London Welsh Water Bill', Western Mail, 15 February 1900, 3; Royal Commission on Canals and Waterways (London: HMSO, 1907), II, 35; Annual Report on the Health of Denbighshire for the Year 1912, MH 97/8, TNA.
    • 115Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Local Government Board, 1897-98 (London: HMSO, 1896), cv. For example, Machynlleth RSA, borrowed £80 in 1895 to improve the water supply for the Pennal parish: Works of Water Supply, Estimates and Details, February 1893, MH 12/16578, TNA.
    • 116Keir Waddington, '“It might not be a nuisance in a country cottage”: Sanitary Conditions and Images of Health in Victorian Rural Wales', Rural History, 2012, 23, 185-204.
    • 117For example, according to the LGB this happened in Mardy in Abergavenny Rural District Council which made improving the water supply to the hamlet difficult: Lithiby to Abergavenny RDC, 8 December 1908, MH 97/118, TNA.
    • 118MOH annual report, Barmouth division, 1896, MH 97/130, TNA.
    • 119Dolgelley RDC, MOH annual Report, 1910, MH 97/ 130; MOH annual report, Mallwyd Division, 1893, MH 97/130, TNA.
    • 120See, Lloyd to Newcastle-in-Emlyn RSA, March 1894, MH 12/15963, TNA; MOH annual report, Milford Division, 1896, Gower RDC, MOH annual report, 1897, MH 95/136, TNA; Gelligaer and Rhigos RDC minutes, 28 September 1899, RDGR/C/1/1, GA; Llanfyrnach RDC, MOH annual report, 1901, MH 97/149, TNA.
    • 121Cowbridge RDC minutes, 1895-98, RDCOW/C/1/1, GA; LGB notes on Annual Report for 1910, MH 96/ 617, TNA.
    • 122Evans to Valley RDC, April 1896, MH MH 12/15706, TNA; Haverfordwest RDC, MOH annual report, 1893, 1896, MH 95/138, TNA.
    • 123'Chirbury Rural District Council', Montgomery County Times, 26 February 1898.
    • 124'Carnarvon Rural Sanitary Authority', North Wales Chronicle, 20 May 1893; 'The Water Question', Prestatyn Weekly, 10 June 1905, 3.
    • 125William Williams, Annual Report of the County Medical Officer for the Year 1900 (Cardiff: William Lewis, 1901), 85, 87, 90; Cardiff Union RSA, annual report, 1897, D805/4/2, GA; 'Trawsfynydd Water Scheme', Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald, 22 June 1906, 4; 'Water Supply in S. Wales', Cardiff Times, 8 June 1901, 2.
    • 126Barry Reay, The Last Rising of the Agricultural Labourers: Rural Life and Protest in Nineteenth Century England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 188. For example, those living near Penygraig's spring resisted its use to supply water to local communities in 1901. They regarded the proposed use of the spring as an attempt to rob them of their water and 'time after time destroyed the main and removed the tank': Annual Report on the Sanitary Condition of Gelligaer and Rhigos RDC, 1901, RDGR/M/1/1, GA.
    • 127Caernarvonshire County Council, Annual Report of the County Medical Officer of Health, 1913, MH 97/7, TNA.
    • 128For example, in Bodfari in Flintshire, the MOH recorded how 'nothing further done' to improve the water supply because the 'PC will not accept DC's proposals', while in St Dogmaels Rural District Council plans to improve the water supply at Penybryn had 'fallen through on a/c of disagreements between DC and households': St Asaph (Flint) RSA, MOH annual report, 1898, MH 97/170, TNA; St Dogmaels RDC, MOH annual report, 1908, MH 97/171, TNA.
    • 129William Williams, Glamorgan County Council Annual Report of the County Medical Officer for the Year 1899 (Cardiff: William Lewis, 1900), 88.
    • 130Twenty-Sixth Annual Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Abergavenny Rural Sanitary District (Abergavenny, 1898), 5.
    • 131See, for example, Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health to the Local Government Board for 1907-08 (London: HMSO, 1909).
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