Have you ever wondered what the big, black, metal pipe across the river is for? 

It was installed in the 19th century as part of a Victorian water supply system. A pumping station in Wincheap (since demolished to make way for the Dunelm store) lifted water out of the aquifer and pushed it uphill to the white concrete water tower close to Kent College. By peering through a telescope, a workman at the pumping station could see when a float reached the top of the tower, telling him that it was nearly full.

The pipe is presumed to be owned by South East Water, who are responsible for the provision of fresh water in our area. In October they evidently decided that the pipe wasn’t safe and installed spikes to deter anyone from walking across it where it crosses a minor stream on the marshes. In November, they turned this into even more of an eyesore, as the photo shows, spoiling views up the river.

We believe the pipe has actually been decommissioned, so it may be possible to arrange with South East Water for this blot on the landscape to be dismantled altogether. Watch this space.