Netherton Well, South Crosland

The Netherton Well is a former public water source near the centre of the village of Netherton.

A stone notice above the well states:



At around 9:20am on Monday 6 June 1866, two boys — Joseph Petty (7)[1] and orphan John Brook (11)[2] — were walking past the well during a thunderstorm when they were stuck by lightning. Petty was thrown across the road and found himself unable to stand up, whilst Brook was rendered unconscious and was initially thought to be dead. Both were taken to the Rose and Crown Inn where Brook eventually regained conciousness after eight hours, although reportedly it was several days before his eyesight returned to normal. When Petty was taken home, he was found to be still tightly clutching a sixpence piece in his hand.[3]

The local Medical Health Officer, Dr. Smailes of Honley, presented his half-year report on the district to the South Crosland Crosland Board in August 1876, which contained the following statement:[4]

My attention has been drawn to the Netherton Well water, several complaints having been made as to its purity. I have given it a rough examination and find it to be tolerably free from organic matter, but there is a small amount of inorganic matter giving the water a dirty appearance, which is increased after a flush of rain. I cannot recommend it as being wholesome, especially now that you have such a good supply from the mains. From information which I have gathered, I should judge that the water is fouled by the quarries, and not from any sewage being mixed with it.

Dr. Smailes commented on the water quality again in his report dated 7 January 1878:[5]

My attention has again been drawn to the Netherton well water. I gave it a very careful examination, but failed to find the slightest sign of any organic impurity. The water is opalescent in appearance, which, in my opinion, is due to some earthy matter as would very likely be produced in running through the quarries, and if filtered would be fit for drinking purposes if required. Considering that the township is well supplied with other drinking water, I do not think it is necessary to interfere with this, as its appearance will deter people from using it when they can find better.

Unspecified repairs to both Crab Well and Netherton Well were carried out by the Highways Committee in late 1884.[6]

The water from the well was submitted for a details inspection again in 1885, but was it was reported that public analyst "could find no distinct evidence of contamination."

A separate public cistern situated on the opposite side of the road, which had recently been discovered was supplied from an entirely separate spring to the well, was also tested but found to be unfit for drinking. Steps were taken in August 1885 to stop any further public use of the cistern.[7]

The exact date Netherton Well was decommissioned is not known.

Grade II Listing

The well was given a Grade II listed status in December 1986 and is described as a:

Well-head with retaining walls and conduit under road to stone troughs. Early C19. Coursed squared stone, stone trough. Well on west side of road set in recess of curved retaining wall fronted by paved area and low roadside wall; conduit carries water under road where it is directed into large store trough. Tall rear (westernmost) retaining wall has taller central section flanked by slightly recessed quadrant walls sloping down towards road; well recess at low level in centre has monolithic sill and lintel and later engraved stone notice warning against damage set above; flat stone coping with pyramidal end stones. Partially- paved area in front and low roadside wall with chamfered coping. On east side of the road is the stone trough, set at right angles to the road. This watering point was a feature of the Lockwood to Meltham Road when it was turnpiked by Act of Parliament in 1818.


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Notes and References

  1. Joseph lived to the ripe age of 87, dying on 7 February 1947. He lived at 481 Blackmoorfoot Road and left a sizeable estate worth over £14,300.
  2. Due to the commonality of his name, it's uncertain what became of John Brook, although he was still residing with his Uncle Isaac in Lockwood at the time of the 1871 Census and working as a woollen piecer.
  3. Leeds Mercury (06/Jun/1866) and Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Jun/1866).
  4. "South Crosland Local Board" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (11/Aug/1876).
  5. "South Crosland Local Board" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (11/Jan/1878).
  6. "South Crosland Local Board" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Nov/1884).
  7. "South Crosland Local Board" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (13/Aug/1875).