Elan Village and Claerwen Reservoir Dog Walk and Driving Tour: The Doss House
People were attracted to the Elan Valley in large numbers as the massive construction project got under way, drawn by the prospect of employment which could last for several years.
New arrivals who were seeking work at the construction site were not allowed to enter the village without first spending a week in the rather spartan "Doss House" on the other side of the river. They had to take a bath, have their clothes and possessions disinfected, and undergo a medical examination.
These precautions were very necessary in order to keep the large community in the village free of the infectious diseases which were very common at that time.
Advice on the running of the Doss House was provided by Branwell Booth of the Salvation Army, which had experience of providing basic dormitories for vagrants in London. Access to the village was over a suspension bridge.
This bridge was guarded round the clock by a bridge keeper. He carefully examined the contents of every cart making deliveries (right) and ensured that only employees and family members could enter the workers' village.
Two watchmen continually patrolled the village at night to guard against crime or the risk of fire among the closely packed wooden buildings.
Read more on the History Of Elan Village and the community - again, fascinating reading. Follow all the page links through for an excellent study of what the reservoir covered over.