At the south-east corner of Albert Park, where Park Road and Park Crescent meet, there stands a small, hexagonal stone building. This is the Conduit House.
This unusual building supplied the needs of the citizens of Ock Street at a time when water from other sources was not safe to drink. It stands in an area of plentiful natural springs which fed a cistern in the building, and the water was led thence downhill via stone channels. Its destination was a fountain in Ock Street.
It is not known when the Conduit House was built. It belonged to Abingdon Abbey at the time of the Abbey’s dissolution in 1538, and then it passed to the Crown. In 1553 it, and the surrounding land, passed to the local charity, Christ’s Hospital. It is mentioned in the Amyce survey of Abingdon of 1554.
In the eighteenth century, this system for supplying relatively clean water to Ock Street was refurbished and provided with a new fountain through the initiative of leading Abingdon townsmen. It was in use until 1875, when a mains water supply was installed for the whole town. The fountain was moved from Ock Street to Conduit Road in the 1940s and it can still be seen in the wall of Tomkins’ Almshouses.
The Conduit House itself is no longer in use.
It is not open to the public.
See Glossary for explanations of technical terms.
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