1820 these stone well heads (seen punctuated down the Royal Mile
at the Lawnmarket, High Street, Netherbow and Canongate) were the
only means by which the thousands of Old Town inhabitants could access
water. They were also places were locals would meet and gossip.
The source of this supply, Castlehill Resevoir (1681) was replaced
by a new system in 1851. The 1.7 million gallon capacity was fed by
springs from the Pentland Hills.
Resevoir was decommissioned in 1992 and converted into a unique working
necked buckets called ‘stoups’ were used to collect and
contain water and a ‘girr’ used as a means of providing
stability to the carrier. ‘Caddies’, who offered a delivery
service carried it in a purpose bulit barrel strapped to the back.
The council would ration the water when it was in short supply during,
for example, the summer months. Since this meant that local residents
could only use the wells between midnight and 3 a.m. queues and fighting
of Netherbow Wellhead