The following photographs were taken in October 1958 at the Metropolitan Water Board District Office at Oakhill Road Putney. No mod cons at this time, basic equipment but a wonderful time of comradeship and working together in the ‘family’ atmosphere of the Metropolitan Water Board (now Thames Water). I worked at the Brixton Office from 1969 to 2007 as a draughtsman and custodian of records and was very lucky to be able to save these photographs during all the changes throughout the years.
This photograph shows the inspectors sorting through their paperwork, their job would be to liaise with companies to check that they complied with water byelaws and also to read and check their water meters. Note the high stools the men to the right are seated on. These were built to last and those in the photograph date from the 1900’s.
These are the local Turncocks and Assistant Turncocks, each had their own local area to look after and the job, as the name suggest, was to open and close water main valves, flush water mains and to operate domestic stop cocks at the property boundaries. Their local knowledge was vast and in the case of a burst water main they knew the right valves to operate to isolate the water main. Each man lived in a MWB house on their local area and travelled around on bicycles.
Taking a break before the day’s work.
The Oakhill Road Office was in a large detached Victorian house with very basic facilities.
A single WC on the ground floor.
The storeroom, note the oil filled road lamps.
Bicycles parked in the yard.
Bicycles parked at the front of the house. Look closely at the first bike and you will see the various keys used to operate the water valves.