Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A journey down the Victorian well

A little while ago, during a lull in the workshop/shed-building process when curiosity got the better of us, we sent a video camera down the well on a rope.

Yes, it was important to get the shed habitable – because the house isn’t and we needed somewhere to sleep – but there are other matters that are equally important, especially to big kids like us (Andy was helping too, and he brought extra rope).
Are there monsters down there? Skelingtons? How deep is it really? How deep is the water at the bottom? Why does the well blow a steady flow of air through the cap some days but not other days? Could we convert it in to a ridiculously-flamboyant wine cellar?

So with the help of zip ties, gaffa tape, a couple of 12-hour glowsticks, a torch or two, a Drift HD sports video camera and a couple of waterproof Aquapac bags, we spent much longer than we planned getting this footage. I’ve stopped it at the water because nothing much happens after that (other than absolute darkness), which is a bit frustrating because the camera either got stuck, floated or the water isn’t as deep as I thought and it settled at the bottom quickly.
When we eventually brought the rope up it was tangled quite badly towards the camera end which suggests that we were just feeding it on top of itself after a while, but nevertheless, and after my initial solo unscientific depth test a few days earlier, we reckon it’s somewhere between 150ft and 200ft to the surface of the water which, from what I’ve been reading, is very unusual because most Victorian wells were only about 30ft maximum depth because that’s all the common iron pumps could deal with.
Former gamekeeper George popped by again a few days ago and, without wanting to raise suspicion (it didn’t come up on the legal searches, so the more secret the better), we casually asked if there just happened to be a well on the property. He said there was “over there somewhere”, it was a 140-footer, and he’d had the pump beautifully restored many years ago only for his successor to scrap it without a second thought.
Shame.

Anyway, here’s the video. We fed the rope quite slowly because we were chatting, drinking tea and getting it stuck now and then, so I’ve speeded it up a bit. Enjoy.




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