Murky, mucky water topped with a thin layer of algae and grime fills these centuries-old troughs. They may not look like much, but they’re the surviving pieces of an early, relatively forgotten public water system.
It’s believed that these old troughs were among the first public water systems in the United Kingdom. In 1588, about a dozen troughs were built within the small village of Eyam to collect water piped in via natural springs.
For nearly 350 years, the villagers collected their drinking water from the spouts that sent fresh water gushing into the stone basin below. Horses and cattle were able to quench their thirsts by sipping from the cool water that pooled in the troughs.
But unfortunately for the village, this waterworks innovation isn’t what it’s known for. After the locals decided to isolate themselves during a 1665 bubonic plague outbreak to keep it from spreading, Eyam earned itself the nickname of the “plague village.”
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