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Funny old tiles - Mud Hound

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The life of a Land Drainage Contractor

Funny old tiles



As regular Mudhound readers will know (are there such things??) We here at Farm Services have what is probably an unhealthy interest in the old clay drains we dig up. I understand that this may seem strange but I guess when you constantly dig them up you only have to be slightly inquisitive to start wondering how they were laid, and why were they design in that way.



That said, this example of what I mean.




This clay drainage tile came to our collection via Hugh Hanmer, and is unusual as it is conical; the diameter at one end is larger than the other. I presume this was done to allow the drains to be joined together, which makes sense, sliding the tile inside the next is an easy way to make a connection, however it does throw up a problem, surely it is very difficult to maintain an accurate level if the tiles are not laid flat in the bottom of a trench? I don’t think it would be that big a problem on a steep grade but on a shallow drain it must be an issue. Also the drains would have to be laid the right way round, so the water flows down the joins or else the connection would trap slit and potentially block the drain.





This is a later drain which I suspect solves the connection issues a little better than the tile shown above.






Here the clay tile has a flat bottom and a collar into which the next tile can be slotted.





Whilst I understand the need to join the tiles together, I can’t help thinking what a hassle it must have been to install. Presumably a bloke had to stand at the back of a trenching machine individually placing each tile in the correct position. It must have been a mindlessly dull job and hard work too, one tile does not weigh much, but lift and placing hundreds during the day must have left your hands aching! We have it easy these days.





Published 29 June 2011 09:37 by Roburt | [Edit Post]


# re: Funny old tiles @ 29 June 2011 15:21

Do you come across horse shoe tiles in your part of the country, we have some that must have been dug in by hand up to eight feet deep.

You would not lay many of those in a day.

# re: Funny old tiles @ 01 July 2011 13:53

We come across them all the time!

I'm just about to write a post about our comments, hopefully I will answer your question.

As an aside, I alway read your blog, it interests me to hear how things were dont in the past, as you might have guest from my posts on the old drains, I like history!