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One of the penalties of a rapidly growing district is that it has to pay for its growth by the provision of utility services for the expanding population. Here follows a brief description of the three main services: gas, water and electricity and the municipal offices that were associated with the services as they developed in the early years of the town's expansion.
Long Eaton had attempted to deal with the question of sanitation, but the water supply had become a very serious matter. There were very few wells in the town that had water fit for human consumption. The need for the supply of pure water became urgent. To supply a pure water system proved very costly. In November 1888 the matter was brought to a crisis by the publication of the Parliamentary Notice of a company called "The Long Eaton and District Water Company", who without any way consulting the local board, proposed to include Long Eaton in its limits of supply. The reaction of the local board to this move was to appoint Mr George Hodson CE to examine the prospects in the interests of the board and report back to them, which he duly did.
Mr Hodson was retained by the board to thoroughly go into the matter of an efficient water supply. In 1893 he published a most interesting and exhaustive account of his findings, and of the steps taken to discover a satisfactory supply of water. All together ten borings had been made, the first on Lock Lane in Sawley, others at Castle Donington and Weston as well as Stanton-By-Bridge, which was near Melbourne where a satisfactory supply was found which would cover Melbourne, Castle Donington and Long Eaton.
The plan for a supply of water from Stanton-By-Bridge was approved in March 1889. The total amount of water was originally some 800,000 galls per day. All the machinery was in duplicate and was capable of pumping 60,000 galls per hour. The reservoir was situated at Windmill Hill, Castle Donington and was designed to hold 400,000 galls. The total cost of the completed work was £44,768.
In 1924 arrangements were put into place to take 150,000 galls from the Derwent Valley Water Board's main at Wilne. During the same year, improvements were made at the pumping station in Stanton-By-Bridge. 1926 saw the steam engines replaced by oil engines at the plant, and in 1929 a scheme was well in hand for additional headings at the waterworks. In addition to Long Eaton and Castle Donington, the council were also supplying water to the parishes of Melbourne, King's Newton and Kegworth.
A second reservoir was opened at Castle Donington in 1930 with a capacity of 1,000,000 galls, and a new main was laid from there to give a separate supply to Castle Donington. The average daily consumption of water in 1936 was 650,000 galls. A further 100,000 galls were taken from the Derwent Valley Water Board in 1938.
In 1949 it was resolved to take the whole of the town's water supply from the Derwent Valley Water Board, and to retain the Stanton Pumping Station for emergency only. Nowadays, Severn Trent Water handles all aspects of Long Eaton's water supply.
In 1866 a notice of poll was called on the lighting of the streets, the decision was that the parish would be lit with gas. But this didn't happen until 1872. So began the public lighting of Long Eaton. It was decided in September 1875 that the footpath from Main Street to Sawley Road (the old Twitchell) should not be lit. At the same time Mr James Roadley was appointed Long Eaton's first lamp lighter, his wage being 8/- per week. A most interesting resolution is recorded about this time. It was resolved that a lamp be fixed at the corner of Gas Street, one lamp to be placed opposite the angle of Wilsthorpe Lane (The Green) and that two lamps be placed at equal distances from the fingerpost to Toton Station (Nottingham Road) one lamp to be placed opposite Mr A. Claye's gateway and one opposite Mrs Bonsall's farm, fixed to a bracket.
By 1877 the lamplighter's wages had risen to 14/- per week, and the following year Mr Joseph Ballard was appointed the new lamplighter. The Gas Company was requested in 1879 to extend the gas mains to the Brown Brook Bridge on Sawley Road (Tamworth Road) and to the canal bridge on Wilsthorpe Lane. There was a suggestion about this time that the town should purchase the Gas Company and run it as a public service. Many discussions and negotiations took place before an agreement was reached in 1885 as to the terms of purchase, only to find that the Local Government Board refused to sanction the sale and the matter had to be dropped.
In the meantime (1882) Mr J. Wallis had been appointed lamplighter, to be replaced in 1886 by Mr Peter Wheeldon. The number of lamps to be lit and extinguished had increased considerably, and Peter Wheeldon's wages as a lamplighter rose to 35/- weekly, but only on condition that he employed two youths to assist him and that the lamps were extinguished in the space of three quarters of an hour each night. In her book "Memories of Long Eaton from 1897", Leonora Dobbs says "Mr Gandy the lamplighter lived on Bonsall Street. He carried a hooked pole to reach the lamp".
It is not recorded when Mr Gandy was appointed lamplighter, but with the coming of electricity to the town in 1903, gas for street lighting was superceded by electric light, and the lamplighters services were no longer required.
Competition between the gas and electricity companies was fierce, but with the development of domestic gadgets and cooking appliances etc., there was a sufficient outlet for both services to worthily fill an important place in the communal life of the people of Long Eaton.
Generation of electricity at the Milner Road station ceased in 1938 and the whole undertaking was passed on to the East Midland's Electricity Board on 1st April 1948.
To cope with the growth of the various public services, the powers that be felt the need to increase their municipal offices. The newly elected Local Board of 1875 passed a resolution that a site for public offices be obtained. Land owned by Mr Bush facing Main Street, at the corner of Chapel Street with the old gas works at the rear, and also Mr Bennett's land at the corner of Station Street and Main Street were considered.
The following year negotiations with Mr Bennett, and also with Mr R. Dixon and Mr John Sheldon for land at the corner of Sawley Lane and the Market Place began. In May 1876 the chairman on behalf of the School Board offered the board room for future meetings of the Local Board. A resolution was passed in November 1878 that the schoolmaster's house and premises be taken on a seven year lease, with an annual rent of £20. It was decided to rent Mr Drennan's premises on the High Street for a clerk's office, and that plans for a £2,000 building be prepared.
Mr E. T. Hooley offered a piece of land at the corner of Regent Street in 1897, but the site was considered unsuitable. The old almshouses site was also rejected as being unsuitable. About this time Zion Hall was offered for council meetings, and here for many years the business meetings were held until Mayfield House was acquired in 1938 and became the Town Hall. This was the first time the local authority had a room of their own which was fitted with taste and dignity in which to transact the town's affairs.
Lyndhurst, a large house on the corner of Cranmer Street once contained the Public Health Department, House Letting and with the librarians residence on the first floor. Bridge House which was acquired in 1936 once contained the Food Office and the local Fuel Office. The present council, Erewash Borough Council, has offices at Mark Street, Sandiacre, Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston and in The Hall (now known as the Town Hall) at The Green, Long Eaton.