|BANKTON WATER SCHEME.
" Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink, "
very often might the villagers have sung out with the poet,
for for many years had the village been in a deplorable state
for want of water. No doubt there have always been pump-wells
and draw-wells in abundance, but these were often muddy or
dry; and though there were even wimpling burnies seeking their
way across the streets, these were neither at times fit for
tea nor for toddy. But at length the Burgh Commissioners,
under Chief Magistrate White, took the matter in hand, and
in order to supplement their very meagre and unsavoury supply,
they had their attention drawn to the " Black Well. "
The name " Black Well" sounds a little ill-foreboding,
reminding one of the historical " Black Plague, "
but nervous people need have no dread of this. The only trouble
ever connected with this well was the water trouble in the
minerals of the district. The well is known in mineral phraseology
as the " Bankton Level. " The upper or great coal
seam crops out here, and this level was run under the direction
of the York Buildings Company of London, or their trustees,
up towards Bankpark and the Glebe, and it was opened for that
purpose about 1750. From 1828 to 1840, during the water famine
at Tranent, the " Black Well" proved a great source
of supply to the villagers, who were wont to carry it thither.
The " Black Well" used to be a favourite resort
for Sunday strollers long ago, and the well got its name from
the fact that when one peeped into the opening, where gross
darkness abounded, the water looked very black.
The Burgh Commissioners of Prestonpans were early satisfied
with the quality and quantity of water which came by way of
the " Black Well, " and taking advantage of an old
quarry on the south side of the North British line, they erected
a reservoir there. This was built with 20 inch rubble and
cement, faced with brick, and covered all over with a coating
of cement. It is capable of holding 130, 000 gallons of water,
which was sufficient, according to the population of that
period, for supplying the villagers for thirteen days at the
rate of thirteen gallons per head per day. The water flows
through a filter formed of coke, and is conveyed to the town,
about a mile distant, in 4 inch iron pipes, and through the
town in 2 1/2 inch iron pipes. The average supply was about
thirty-four gallons per head per day. The whole works were
superintended by Mr M'Queen, of Prestonpans, and cost something
On 16th July 1878 these waterworks were finally opened. It
was quite a day of rejoicing in the district. Mrs White, wife
of the chief magistrate of the burgh, had the honour of turning
on the new supply. A cake and wine banquet was afterwards
held at Bankton Park.
NEW WATER SUPPLY.
Taking your stand on Tranent Muir, and casting an eye a little
south-east over the Lammermoors, you will have no difficulty
in distinguishing a small round tower on the highest pinnacle.
That is the Cairn—a clump of gathered stones with a pole in
its centre stretching heavenwards—and the hill is known as
Lammer Law. There is a cleft in the hills directly beneath
the Law, and another cleft a little to the west of it, and
from this proceeds the silvery spring known as Kidlaw Burn.
Following its various windings downhill on a sunshiny day—oh,
how delightful!—you may hear the gurglings of the limpid stream
as it leaps from rock to rock beneath the overgrowing ferns
and mosses, but nothing of it can be seen for its ever verdant
covering. Lower down it comes to light, and begins to leap
over the many light but beautiful waterfalls; and still lower
down, as it begins to spread out, if it loses the charm of
its ferns and its mosses, it finds another charm for the stroller
in its silver-scaled fishes, for here the playful trout abounds.
This then is the source of the new water supply arranged for
by the Burgh Commissioners, and a purer, sweeter spring it
would have been hard to light upon.
In order to lighten the burden of bringing in the supply,
a joint water district has been formed, extending east to
west from Port Seton to Morrison's Haven, and south to Prestonpans
station. A reservoir will be formed in the hollow ground amidst
the hills, known as Kidlaw Loch, and a second reservoir will
be formed a little lower down at the Witch's Knowe. Two filter
beds will be constructed at Tranent Mains about 200 feet above
sea level, and the estimated cost of the entire scheme is
, £16, 000.
NEW CONGREGATIONAL HALL.
A new congregational hall in connection with the Parish Church,
and in the vicinity of the church, is being rapidly constructed.
The plans show it to be an exceedingly handsome building.
It will be comfortably seated for upwards of 400 people, and
the cost will be at least £1500.