Old Horse Shoe Drains
Owd Fred left a comment on the last blog entry which made me realise a flaw in our museum collection and on the numerous Mudhound posts regarding old clay drains (sorry). We only collect the unusual. We un-earth thousands of clay drains each year but only pick up ones which, for whatever reason, are atypical. To answer Fred’s question, yes we come across horse shoe drains constantly, they are so common I have not bothered to collect or mention them. Looking through the museum exhibits (I might be going too far with this museum thing now) we only have half a dozen horse shoe drains, despite the frequency with which we find them. The pictures below show some. So next time I’m on site and a old bog standard clay horse shoe is uncovered, I will add it to the collection.
To answer the second part of Fred’s question, the depth which some of these drains were installed presumable by hand is almost unbelievable. Drains which are eight feet deep are impressive but not out of the ordinary. On one occasion we found the trench line of the old drain we were looking for and started to dig down to the drain expecting it to be around a metre and a half deep, this old carrier was over four metres deep, which as you might image caused us a few problems. Judging by the age of the drain and the unlikihood of the ground level having been altered, I can only assume that the original drain was dug by hand, it must have taken a small army to excavate such as trench!