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.”
Visit England withAtlas Obscura Trips
London Science Weekend: Medicine and Science in the Press
Join New York Times Journeys and Atlas Obscura for three days of scientific learning, special access and exploration in London. Accompanied by Times journalists and scientific experts, meet people contributing to the history of medicine and scientific journalism. This two-track program includes panels, exclusive visits and access to some of the best scientific minds available to concentrate on science reporting or medical history.