Water for the people of Portsmouth was traditionally drawn from wells in the Elm Grove and Lion Gate Road areas. It was described as ‘abundant and pure’.
It was distributed by horse-drawn carts laden with large barrels and cost a penny for three buckets.
By 1811, two reservoirs and a pumping station had been built at Farlington Marshes and pipes laid to supply water to affluent parts of town.
On September 24 inhabitants flocked there in great expectation ready to witness a torrent of sparkling spring Farlington water gushing into a moat.
In the event, the pipes were leaky and a trickle of rusty red water appeared.
After four days of hasty repairs, on this day in 1811, the supply was opened officially. The water was still red but ran clear after a week.
The supply to Portsea started on October 6 – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.