An overview of Public Services and Utilities for Stowupland

It is difficult to imagine life without mains electricity or running hot and cold water. Most of us are connected to mains drainage and expect to have some form of central heating. Life has not always been so comfortable for residetns of Stowupland,

A national survey based on the 1951 survey found that 27.8% of homes did not have piped water, 53.3% had no fixed bath and 19.3% didn’t have a kitchen sink.

An advertisement for a house in Saxham Street in 1929 made the proud claim that properties could get ‘fresh’ water from a pump near the Driftway.

In the 1920s and 30s there were repeated complaints in the parish council meetings about ongoing delays for getting mains water laid onto houses in Saxham Street.

In 1921, there was a water tower on the Green and a water pipeline ran from the Green as far as the Council School.

In 1895 ‘twenty houses had no water worth mentioning and ten in Saxon {sic} Street had not water fit for cattle‘ ( Bury Free Press, July 18th 1895). And 10 years earlier there were concerns voiced in the London Gazette ( November 30th 1885) regarding the availability of water in Saxon Street.

In 1871 (Bury and Norwich Post, March 14th 1871) ‘a large parish in Suffolk mainly dependent on ditch water. In certain seasons the administration of vermifuge would expel from the bowels of perhaps half of the children worms, many inches long.’

A national survey based on the 1951 survey found that 32.1% had no WC.

Mains sewage arrived in Saxham Street in 1962. The council installed the main pipe along the road but individuals then had to dig and lay their own pipe across their land (memory from a local resident)

Before that many people used ‘the bucket and chuck it’ system. In the 1930’s Saxham Cottage had an outside  toilet.

I am told that Columbine bungalow residents would systematically bury their buckets of waste in their large vegetable gardens (read more about the problems of the sewage and the council bungalows)


From the 1890s some households might have had gas lights, but for most it was candles or rushes or paraffin wax or oil.

In 1933 Holy Trinity Church celebrated its 90th Anniversary with the switching of their newly installed electric lighting.


Some homes in Stowupland had to wait till the 1950s to be connected up for electricity. When Ena Carter visited Stowupland Hall in the 1930’s there was no electricity, however her daughter shared that when in the 1940s the army wanted to set up a command post near the Hall they needed electricity, Thomas negotiated for electricity to be laid on to the Hall.

Communications, Telephones and postal services

By the 1920s the basic  public phone service was similar to what we use today. We know that by 1927 the Gyford family had had a phone installed in Saxham Cottage. We have been told that it was made available for  local people to use. By 1939 Ena and Jack Carter had a phone in Gipping Farm.

See more on Stowupland’s Postal Service

Our Local Bobbies.  (see also Misdeeds, Mishaps and Miscellany

Today we have no local bobby, in times past the police house was in of Barn Cottages, before it moved to Deepland House along the B113.

Known local police constables include PC George Salter (in 1901), PC Jack Jermy,  PC John Doward, (1970s)

Fires and services

In the event of fire, Stowuplanders had to await the arrival of Stowmarket Fire Engine