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Pickersleigh Trough

NGR 78365 47555
Site Number: C9
By Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver (C) 2012
Area 2. Malvern Link Springs and Wells
Malvern Hills, England

Location: at the junction of Pickersleigh Road and Worcester Road, Malvern Link
Description: a public trough for humans and animals

There was once a horse trough on the corner of Pickersleigh Road and Worcester Road. It was similar to the Barnards Green Trough, comprising a lower trough for dogs and an upper trough for cattle and horses. It was provided in 1901, replacing an old iron one that was moved to Newtown Road. The new trough was the gift of Mrs Pears, widow of Colonel Pears, and Miss Roget (daughter of Thesaurus compiler Dr Peter Mark Roget), who was an annual visitor to Malvern.[1] Both ladies were members of The Malvern Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The MSPCA, which had been partly founded by the Pears, was established in 1875 and was responsible for promoting humane feelings towards animals. Its work included organising essay competitions on the subject in schools, prosecuting anyone found ill-treating an animal and giving lectures on kindness to animals, emphasising the fact that much cruelty was done through ignorance and a useful cure would be the study of natural history. The society erected animal troughs around the town and on the hills and some still survive.

For human consumption, a cup and chain enabled tramps from the nearby tramps' ward to drink there. The local paper painted a pleasing picture of the busy rural scene, at the same time revealing the early Edwardians' concern for animals and their welfare. Any day, it said, people could witness that this trough was more appreciated by beast then man. 'Not only do the passing horses find a welcome draught, but the many animals which graze on the Common find their way to the spot from time to time, while in the hot weather numerous dogs drink and splash happily in the trough provided for them.'[2] In May 1904 a report to the SPCA stated that during the course of one day 86 people, 81 horses, 17 dogs and 5 cows were counted drinking at Link trough.[3]

Water was not always the only thing found in the trough. During the Second World War, when a bomb destined for the railway station hit the Link School by mistake, the blast knocked P.C Jack Williamson right into the horse trough. By the mid-1950s the supply for humans no longer worked. It was said that 'In some cases drinking fountains have been discontinued because it is felt they are unhygienic, because parts of them disappeared, and because they are misused by the public.'[4]

Water for animals was still available here as recently as 1956 but late in 1962 there were complaints about the state of the trough. There were suggestions that, since there were no longer horses and ponies permanently tethered on the common, it might be moved back from the edge of the road though removed entirely. Another suggestion was that the trough should be drained and offered to Malvern Urban District Council for use as flower planters. The Council said it needed repairing and was useless where it was. In 1964 an advertisement offered it free to anyone who wanted and collected it. No one wanted or collected it. In June 1965 the conservators' ranger broke it up and carted it away. It has completely disappeared.
1. The site of the trough 1856/7, courtesy O.S. sheet XL.5.21.
2. The trough in the 1950s barely visible behind the approaching lorry.
3. The modern day site of the Pickersleigh Road trough. The trough looked very like the Barnards Green Trough.

[1] Malvern Advertiser, 24 August 1901.
[2] Malvern Gazette, 17 June 2004.
[3] Malvern Gazette, 20 May 1904.
[4] Malvern Gazette, 19 October 1956.
and personal communications.
The map alongside is a small section of our more comprehensive map of the area. For the complete map together with a description and history of this site see "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012).
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Celebrated Springs of 


A definitive work that is the culmination of 20 years researching the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills, published by Phillimore. This is the ideal explorers guide enabling the reader to discover the location and often the astounding and long forgotten history of over 130 celebrated springs and wells sites around the Malvern Hills. The book is hard back with dust cover, large quarto size with lavish illustrations and extended text. Celebrated Springs contains about 200 illustrations and well researched text over a similar number of pages, together with seven area maps to guide the explorer to the locations around the Malvern Hills. It also includes details on the long history of bottling water in the Malvern Hills.

Written by Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, this book is available on-line for £15.00 (delivered UK) - click Malvern Bookshop on the green panel top left. Alternatively send a cheque payable to Cora Weaver with your name and address to 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX.

Malvern Hills - arguably Britain's original National Park
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