Monday, August 19, 2013

The Water Kings

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink -- at least, to drink safely. One of the principal health hazards of Victorian London was its water, and one might be far healthier with a glass of beer, or even a flagon of rum, than with a drop of the swill that passed in some parts for drinking water. The "Water Kings" parodied in the Punch cartoon here were the three large water companies of London, whose water intakes were all downstream from significant storm drains and sewers, and thus quite frequently their product would be safe only after boiling, and then hardly palatable.

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