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Really odd metal pipe JUST under the surface...

So, I know this isn't necessarily the best place to post, but wondered if anyone might have a better idea than me.. 

I was just digging up some turf for a new bed, and as I started to break ground beneath it, I found this, not more than 20cm below the surface...

It feels like lead. It's pliable and moves quite a lot if I tug at it (which I did very gently might I add!).

So my house was built in the 1860s, and the pipe is pointing ROUGHLY at my gas meter, but I do know that my gas meter wasn't installed much more than 20 years ago- probably closer to 10. At which point they almost certainly wouldn't have been using lead, surely?!

It also looks almost like it's wrapped- there's a line running around it, almost in a spiral, but it's really hard to get a photo since it's so old and mud-caked.

A bit of a mystery. If there are any wise old heads I'd appreciate an opinion!



  • nick615nick615 Posts: 578
    If it's of the original date, I'd say the only metal it could be is lead, and its contents were probably water with an outside possibility of gas?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,954
     Do you have, or do you think that there ever was, an outside light or a shed with a power point? We found something similar in our garden.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 4,013
    Lead was banned for new installations sometime in the 70’s, but older properties may still have it. It could have been used for water, gas lighting or electricity. It’s doubtful it’s still connected to your current supply of any of those utilities but not impossible. Is there an old water supply in the garden anywhere? Is it possible to dig around a bit more and trace it back to anything?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,954
    We only had our 1880s lead water pipe replaced last year after the bin lorry ran over it one time too many.

    The fact that it’s “wrapped” and so near the surface suggests to me that it wasn’t water or gas.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • I found something similar in my front garden, like you a couple of inches below ground. 

    My house was built in the 1930’s

    Looked like lead and was tangled up in a tree root (the tree is pretty old and large at least a few decades old but I’m no expert). I just put it down to be a redundant utility pipe either gas or water?) 

    I suspect it will no longer be in use? 
  • Thanks everyone.

    I did a bit of cleaning and it does look like it's 'wrapped' in one of those black spiral things. Can't see it being an old garden electric supply, and it's definitely not the mains electric supply (that's the other side of the house).

    I'm just really hoping it's not gas, because having a gas pipe that close to the surface would be a real worry!

    I think I'll try to follow it tomorrow..
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 66,139
    In a previous house the estate agent put his sign stake right through our gas pipe causing chaos on a main road into the city and evacuation of the street at rush hour. The modern ‘plastic’ pipe was less than eight inches below the surface ... and the sign was erected on a line directly between a metal gas plate on the pavement and our meter on the outside house wall.😱

    Needless to say the estate agent paid Transco’s bill and didn’t charge us a penny for selling the house. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,166
    Would borrowing a metal detector help you @Gaughan.david? I have never used one so have no knowledge of their efficacy.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,539
    Our neighbor burned up the local cable internet connection a few months ago because it was so close to the surface when he burned weeds along his fence.  Melted it enough to disrupt the service to the communications box.  It was only a few inches below the soil.  
    Utah, USA.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 578
    To prevent freezing, some years ago I put a heating cable round our water pipe that runs just below the lawn's surface.  Needless to say, Murphy's Law has said we've never had to switch it on since but your mention of 'black spiral thing' rings a bell with me because our instructions were to spiral it round the pipe.
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