Reginald Percy Hicks

Author: Paul Thompson
Date published: 18/04/2020

Reginald was born in 1890 to George and Emily Hicks who lived in Enborne Road, Newbury. He was their fourth child of what would be seven according to census information.

In 1901 they were living and working at 9 Greenham Mills Cottages.

The following year they moved to new lodgings at Newbury Pumping station, London Road. The Pumping station had been built as Newbury’s first sewer and drainage system between 1894-1896 and the large house was added to the buildings in 1901.

The family had not been there very long when Reginald was taken seriously ill and died on August 29th 1902.

An inquiry into the death by the drainage committee of the council, determined the Reginald died after drinking water from the well on the site and contracting typhoid fever.

Asked if the well had been tested before the family had moved in, to which the Town Clerk said that it had, being a chalk stream, it was remarkably free from impurity.

However, after the death, it was checked again and found to be badly polluted. The reason for this was believed to have been due to street refuse being dumped on adjacent land and the impurities seeped through the ground to pollute the water.

Reginald was buried in Newtown Road Cemetery on September 1st, 1902, but there is no marker or memorial.

The family remained at the pumping station after Reginald’s death and were still there on the 1911 census but left sometime in next 15 years. The 1939 census shows them living in Eldon Street in Reading.

Sources:Research, NWN, Census, FreeBMD

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