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Thursday 21 March 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Man who brought potable water to TT

The remains of a pumping station built in 1922 on the site where West Park is under construction in Diego Martin. Retired journalist Rosemary Store has written that the early development of the area was under Charles Arthur Richards Farrell, the first local city engineer, and not his son Harry Farrell. FILE PHOTO
The remains of a pumping station built in 1922 on the site where West Park is under construction in Diego Martin. Retired journalist Rosemary Store has written that the early development of the area was under Charles Arthur Richards Farrell, the first local city engineer, and not his son Harry Farrell. FILE PHOTO

THE EDITOR: The early development and use of “West Park” was under the auspices of Charles Arthur Richards Farrell who was the first local city engineer and not his son Harry Farrell as has been stated in Newsday twice in December. He was my grandfather.

Charles Farrell must be remembered for bringing potable water to the people of TT as well as for the building of beautiful pumping stations around the city which are now memories and one in West Park, Cocorite (directly opposite The Falls at West Mall) – a relic crying out to be restored.

His grandchildren remember being taken on many a Sunday afternoon drive to see the then functioning pumping station in Cocorite. They remember that there were three stations in all around the city, they remember being mesmerised by the huge, gleaming, brass fans and shiny fittings, the curiously shaped windows with curved window panes spotted with diamond shapes of brightly coloured glass, and they also remember the smooth patches of grass surrounding tall trees where they could play.

He was commemorated by the Trinidad water production sector when they formed the Farrell Pumping Station Credit Union Co-operative Society Ltd in 1958, which later became the COPOS Credit Union Co-operative Society Ltd of TT. COPOS still functions as a financial co-operative that is member-based and designed to provide financial and economic services to the community.

The fifth child of an Irish army officer and a half Carib girl from the Hazel family, Farrell was a brilliant student of Queen’s Royal College (QRC), winning the Island Scholarship twice. The first time he was 16 and it was found the scholarship could not be awarded to him as he was too young. The next year he came first again and chose to study engineering at Edinburgh University. On his return to Trinidad he worked for a short period as a land surveyor until he was appointed Port of Spain city engineer. He was the first local to hold that post.

While studying in Scotland, Charles Farrell became acquainted with a fellow Trinidadian who was also pursuing studies in Great Britain. She was Mary Marguerite Brunton, one of twin daughters born to the wealthy landowner in Diego Martin and Chaguanas, Nicholas Brunton and his wife Mary Langton.

On their return to Trinidad, the pair married in 1898 and their first son, Arthur, was born at River Estate in 1899. Six other sons followed, all of whom were A students at QRC and went on to become sterling sons of TT, contributing through their official careers and in the sporting arena to the development of this country.

Their first son, Arthur, a teacher, became acting head master at QRC and St George’s. QRC students of his era familiarly referred to him as “The Ghost” as a result of his practice to appear almost out of nowhere immaculately dressed all in white.

Reginald (Reggie), an engineer, followed in his father’s footsteps to also become the city engineer.

Edward (Dr Edward “Teddy” Farrell) became a dentist and is mentioned in a 1938 calypso, Darling Kimberlin, by The Tiger (Neville Marcano) among his preferred legal and medical practitioners.

Harry was appointed the city’s town clerk in 1941.

Patrick died young while still at QRC.

Frederick (my father, called Freddie) became sub-intendant of Crown Lands and Director of Surveys.

Francis (Frankie) became the supervisor of Elections and Boundaries.

We, the descendants of Charles Farrell, live in hope that his name will be attached to the renewed building, however it is to be used, and that some attention will be given to the man for his enormous work in the development of his country.

ROSEMARY (FARRELL) STONE

retired journalist

Diego Martin

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