A Day in the Life (1)

The Manager's log book - Sewage Disposal in Benfleet 1938

Detailed diary of a day in the life

In the 1930s and 1940s a gentleman by the name of Cotton was the work’s Manager for Sewage Disposal in Benfleet.  Mr Cotton kept meticulous diaries of his daily regime and Castle Point Council have loaned us the complete collection of these diaries, enabling us to add some of the more interesting entries to this site.

It appears one of his first jobs was to record the weather, rainfall and power figures, which were recorded without fail first thing each morning. Every day he visited South Benfleet Pumping Station and Rushbottom Lane Pumping Station to carry out maintenance and check instruments.

His detailed diaries not only recorded his daily routine chores but also any unexpected problems, such as problems due to severe weather and also vandalism.

There follows a transcript of Mr Cotton’s days’ work carried out on Wednesday, January 26th 1938.  The original page is shown below.

Wednesday January 26th, 1938

Weather  Fine – Wind S.W. – Rainfall at 2pm nil – Power 106815

Visited South Benfleet Pumping Station first job, collected tools for cleaning out sumps at Rushbottom Lane, proceeded to the station, carried out weekly general cleaning of all sumps and walls invert etc, this station was carried on with first owing to County of London requiring to close down for repair work to their overhead cables etc.

Whilst at this station Mr Mills came to check up on colouring matter put in the sewer at Mount Road together with coloured matches and ping pong ball, these he says when placed in sewer at 10.40am, a hefty dose of water to help them on their way, no colouring matter was noticed arriving at Rushbottom Lane sumps, first of coloured matches arrived at 11.55am. 1 hour 15 mins after insertion and until the time I left the station at 12.30pm the ping pong ball had not arrived, nor the colouring matter, straggler matches continued to come along from 11.55 to 12.30pm.

Returned later to South Benfleet Pumping Station, carried out general routine work and maintenance to plant, leaving later for Council Offices with Long Book to present to the Surveyor.

Approx sewage deal with 167,200 gallons.
Left at

Flow into both stations now reaching the normal D.W.F.

Coat of Arms
Benfleet Urban District Council
Log book entry Wednesday, January 26th 1938
With thanks to Castle Point Council

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