Wednesday 10 April 2019

Eton Wick and Boveney were part of Eton Rural Sanitary Authority

Eton Wick was outside the area that the Eton Union Sanitary Authority covered so the villagers were not entitled to use the hospital, nor were those people of Eton who could not afford to pay something towards the cost. There was opportunity here for charitable help, and the Church was not slow in setting up a system whereby the more prosperous people were encouraged to buy 'dispensary tickets'. These could be given directly to the poorer parishioners who needed medical help as outpatients. Otherwise, as often seems to have happened, they were given to one of the clergy, who with the help of the District Visitors gave them to the most needy. By the end of the first year 399 people had been treated at the Dispensary as well as those who had been patients in the hospital. It should not be forgotten that 1883 was also the year in which the Eton Poor Estate had begun to pay the salary of a nurse for the parish. Church, Charitable Trust and Local Authority all combined to make Eton a good parish in which to be ill

In 1875 Eton Wick and Boveney became part of the Eton Rural Sanitary Authority. Inevitably because of the large area changes were slow to take place; but at least one improvement was achieved in Eton Wick when in 1892 piped water reached the village. Communal taps were placed at convenient places to pairs and blocks of houses and collecting water from them became a daily task. Clean drinking water was kept in muslin covered buckets in the scullery, while water for other purposes stood uncovered nearby, though rainwater from the tub was still favoured for its softness. At the turn of the century new houses built in the Walk were probably the first in the village to enjoy the luxury of having running water actually in the house. Slowly, however, a cold water tap and stone sink became standard for most village homes. 

In the same year, 1892, another important change took place. New Town was taken under the wing of the Vicar of Eton for all spiritual purposes. Now, except for marriage, all residents of New Town would have the same rights of administration as the rest of the people in the village. For the first time also Eton Wick had its own resident curate, though as yet no parsonage. Services of District Visitors were obtained for New Town and parish work in that district was put on a more official footing. The first steps in the recognition of New Town as part of Eton Wick, rather than Boveney, had been taken. 

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter.

Public Health Act 1875 

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