Water Supplies to Fareham

Following the passing of the 1848 Public Health Act an inquiry into the sewerage, drainage, water supply and sanitary conditions of the inhabitants of Fareham was conducted by Robert Rawlinson, Superintending Inspector to the General Board of Health.

The result was that the Fareham Local Board of Health constructed a well in a disused chalk pit at Maindell in North Wallington.  A pumping station was built together with a small service reservoir of 100,000 gallons capacity at Fort Wallington to supply the town. It was commissioned in September 1860.

Over the next sixty years, supplies, which were initially limited to the urban area of the town, were gradually extended to the Uplands, Funtley and Catisfield areas although not until considerable pressure was applied by the local residents.  To meet the additional demands, new wells and interconnecting adits, horizontal tunnels into the chalk, were constructed at Maindell in several stages.

Inside the Maindell adits, 1954 
Inside the Maindell adits (1954)

In 1934 there was a serious shortage of water as a result of a drought, and the Fareham Urban District Council (who had taken over the responsibility for water supplies from the Local Board of Health in 1894) had to impose restrictions which lasted until February 1935.

This prompted further improvements at Maindell and the construction of Portsdown Reservoir to the east of Fareham on Portsdown Hill.

Maindell Pumping Station 
Maindell Pumping Station

The Second World War

Just as the Portsmouth and Gosport companies prepared for War, so the Fareham Urban District Council made preparations by installing cross connections to the networks of the other two companies as well as the private mains supply at Knowle Hospital.

Demand during the war increased considerably partly due to the need to support the troops assembling for the D-Day invasion but also the requirements of the Prisoner of War and Labour Camp at East Cams.  The rise in demand eventually led the Fareham Undertaking to begin a programme of leakage detection together with the introduction of new provisions which would ensure that all commercial premises were metered and that specified standards would have to be met for all plumbing.

Post War Improvements

As the town of Fareham rapidly developed following the Second World War, the Urban District Council was under pressure yet again to improve supplies.  Government approval was received in 1957 for yet further improvements at Maindell and to the distribution network.  These proved just sufficient to avoid problems in the dry summers of 1957 and 1959.

However, following earlier approaches from the Portsmouth and Gosport Water Company in 1955, negotiations about an amalgamation had already begun in 1957.  This finally resulted in the Portsmouth and Gosport Water Company taking over responsibility for supplies to Fareham on 1 October 1959.

Statutory Instruments 1959 
Statutory Instrument of 1959 enabling the Portsmouth and Gosport Water Company to take over supplies to Fareham



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