HistoricGosport Static Water Supply

Static Water Supply

During World War Two there was a need for water for fire-fighting parties to put out fires from incendiary bombs.  Supplies of emergency fresh water for drinking and cooking also had to be found. The two large Admiralty ship tanks at Halsar were were reserved for this purpose. in September 1941 the Council ordered the swimming pool at Gosport to be drained of its salt water and filled with fresh water as an additional emergency supply but by the Spring of the following year there were demands that it be filled once more with sea water ready for the Summer season swimming needs. This was done in 1942.

For fire-fighting static sources of water were already available at Gosport such as the old Gosport Town moat, the pool at Anglesey Gardens. Alverstoke Creek was dammed at Jackie Spencer’s Bridge. Other supplies needed to be created using temporary rectangular steel tanks and pipes, in case mains water supplies got ruptured by bombs, and these were often placed on or near bomb sites. These Static Water Supplies in Gosport were identified by painting a black rectangle on nearby buildings and adding S.W.S. in white lettering, together with an arrow pointing towards the supply. Sadly several children drowned whist playing in the tanks.

Some of these S.W.S. signs have survived on Gosport buildings but time and the weather are causing them to fade away.

The surviving ones are:
Three on the old Gosport Library building, pointing to the old Gosport Town moat (now filled in).
One on a house in Cranbourne Road.
One on the end of a terrace of houses in Avenue Road, close to what was a bomb site.
One on the wall of Gosport Cemetery in Anns Hill Road.

Clarence Road

SWS Clarence Road

SWS Clarence Road

SWS Clarence Road

SWS Clarence Road

Avenue Road

SWS Avenue Road

Anns Hill Road

Anns Hill Road, now very faded.

Cranbourne Road

SWS Cranbourne Road

Brockhurst Road junction with Hartington Road. SWS sign on the wall outside Hunt and Newman’s shop.
Thanks to Gosport resident Margaret Sutton for spotting this one and to Rich Patterson for reporting it to me. From the archives of Portsmouth City Council. Lots of SWS signs at the Bury Road, Gordon Road, Foster Road junction. Also a lamp post with war time stripes and an old K1 phone box.