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SUPPLY OF WATER TO THE METROPOLIS.
[Postscript to the Article on Artesian Springs.] The Article we published on Artesian Springs in the January number of the “ Monthly Chronicle” has, we are glad to observe, been the means of directing public attention once more to this highly important subject. On the 7th of February a meeting was held at the British Coffee House, Cockspur Street, the Honorable Colonel L. Stanhope in the chair, for the purpose of considering the means by which the inhabitants of London and Westminster might be provided with a purer supply of water than is at present distributed. The honorable chairman having stated the great object of the meeting, requested the engineers present to explain the nature and practicability of the plan which they would suggest, upon which Mr. Giles stated, that it was now proposed to obtain pure water from the valley of the Colne, near Watford, where there are very copious springs within the depth of eighteen feet from the surface of the land. When Mr. Telford gauged the springs in the vicinity of London, he looked on this as the most desirable spot, having the advantage of being 167 feet above the level of the tide; and from his experiments it was clearly demonstrated, that an Artesian spring sunk here would yield, through a bore of five inches and a half, ten gallons and a half per diem to each individual in a population of a million and a half of inhabitants. The manner of conducting the water from this source to London would be by a covered conduit, in length twelve miles and a half, from the Colne Valley to St. John's Wood, where its level would be about 160 feet above Trinity high-water mark; and thus from the water being derived from this height, its own gravity, without the aid of any description of forcing machinery, would supply London with both high and low service. He then laid on the table for the inspection of the meeting charts illustrative of the projected course.
Here, taking the report of this meeting as we find it detailed in the “Sun” and “Courier,” we would pause to observe, that it might reasonably be asked, Why should we go twelve and a half miles out of London for a supply of water which lies under the plastic clay formation on which the City itself stands, and from which numerous breweries, distilleries, sugar-refining, vinegar, colour, soap, and gas manufactories already derive an ample supply? The answer is twofold: 1st, By going twelve and a half miles from London the suspicion, or apprehension, that Artesian wells on a large scale would dry up all other wells is got rid of; and, 2dly, Height is gained, whereby the water would as above stated, without any forcing machinery, supply every house with high and low service. The first answer is vale nada, for it is a mere surmise -- and a surmise, be it observed, originating only with the parties interested in suppressing this great public improvement - that the opening of one Artesian spring will draw off the supply from another. In and about the vicinity of London are upwards of 300 Artesian wells; and although more than one has been sunk in the self-same brewery, because, be it observed, the diameter of the bore of the first was too confined to admit of the adequate supply, yet no one fact has been established - the result of no one positive experiment has shown, that the supply of water has thereby been in any respect diminished. We require on such a point as this facts, not theories, or vague apprehensions; and we certainly should remonstrate, and that urgently, against bringing water a distance of twelve and a
half miles into the City merely to silence the ideal prejudices of the parties interested in maintaining the present system.
The second answer, however, has a clear right to consideration, because by obtaining the supply from the valley of the Colne instead of from the site of the City itself, an advantage of height is gained which supersedes the necessity of forcing machinery. The Grand Junction, the West Middlesex, the Chelsea, and other water-companies, are obliged to have recourse to engine power ; but in this case it would be superseded, as the water by its own gravity would supply the high service of every house. .
Mr. Paten, who has for many years been practically engaged in this, inquiry, next stated, that from experiments which he had himself made in the valley of the Colne, it was proved that,
“At a distance of two and a half miles in length by one mile in breadth of this valley, at only seven feet from the surface, there lay imbedded in a small quantity of fine gravel, an immense body of water eight feet deep, and which as soon as touched rose to within eighteen inches of the surface. To prove that this water proceeded from the lower or main springs, he shut it out by an iron pipe, and then tapped the springs at the depth of 120 feet from the surface, which rose exactly to the same height as the other. So abundant was the supply, that though the pipe was only five inches and a half in diameter, he pumped up between 8000 and 9000 gallons per hour, and he continued to do so without any diminution of the water. It was clear that London could be most abundantly supplied from this spot alone, as any engineer acquainted with the data he had furnished could prove. Mr. Telford's survey had been taken during the extracrdinary drought of 1833, and yet the springs were then proved to be sufficient in various parts round London to supply the inhabitants twenty times over."
The report then proceeds:“ The plans were examined, many questions were asked and satisfactorily answered, and with reference to the effect of Artesian wells, the following paragraph was read from an able article in the last number of the Monthly CHRONICLE.
" • In the neighbourhood of London these Artesian wells are already very numerous. There are at Hammersmith 6, Brentford 3, Uxbridge 8, Rickmansworth 4, Watford 9, one producing 22,500,000 gallons weekly, partly supplying the river Colne; St. Albans 2. In London itself there are 174, of which 30 produce 30,000,000 gallons weekly: indeed, it is clearly ascertained, that the quantity of water which any one of those wells will yield, depends on and is proportioned to the diameter of the bore. It has been calculated that the quantity of water supplied to the metropolis by all the water-companies on both sides of the river, may be estimated at 38,000,000 gallons daily, and one orifice from a single Artesian well, with a diameter of six feet, would yield more than sufficient to meet this demand.'"*
The practicability of this great city being supplied by Artesian water having been demonstrated categorically by the queries put to the engineers, the medical gentlemen present reiterated the facts recorded in our January number.
Surgeon Elmore stated, “ that the impurities of the river Thames were notoriously incapable of being removed by any filtration. He and every member of his Profession were aware that glandular affections, dyspepsia, bowel complaints, and other diseases, are mainly produced, and in all cases aggravated by the use of the present London water. He further dwelt on the gratifying fact, that the excessive use of ardent spirits, wines, malt liquors, &c. was now sensibly on the decrease, and that a supply of pure water was essential, so far as health is concerned, to the success of the system introduced by temperance societies."
Dr. Stone in addition observed, “ that while filtration did not get rid of the most deleterious substances held in chemical solution, those very substances were exactly those which ought to be got rid of, seeing that they were the most prejudicial to the animal economy, which was proved by the sudden death of eels and other fish brought from a distance, that sickened and died when subjected for a single hour to the action of Thames water. Not only was this the fact in 1828, but since that period, from the vast increase of the inhabitants, the common sewers, and the manufactories on the banks of the Thames, a much larger
• The “Sun,” Thursday, February 13. 1840.
impregnation of water with poisonous matter must necessarily have taken place; so that the Thames water is constantly undergoing a progressive deterioration. He would from his own experience assert, and all the Profession would concur with him, that no greater blessing could be conferred upon the inhabitants of London than to provide for them pure water. He concluded by moving a resolution to the effect, that certain noblemen and gentlemen having signified their support of the object, and their approbation of the plan, be requested to constitute a Committee to carry it into effect, which was unanimously carried."
It remains for us to observe, that this meeting was evidently not got up with any view of offering a factious opposition to the existing water-companies ; for it was stated by Mr. Giles, that it was not only competent for them, but desirable that they should avail themselves of this very source for obtaining their supply, in which case it would be attended by an immense saving of expense, as it would then be unnecessary to tear up the streets for the purpose of laying down new pipes, as the present street pipes would be available; and in that case, instead of conveying the impure and deleterious water of the Thames, they would conduct pure Artesian water to the same destination. And we would observe, that, looking at the subject in all its bearings, either the water-companies ought, we should rather say must take advantage of this hint, or it is incumbent on the Government to interpose its authority and protective influence in behalf of the inhabitants of this great city, who are at this moment compelled, by the mere force and circumstance of water-company monopolies, to pay enormously for a supply of water which the most distinguished chemists and highest medical authorities have pronounced to be totally unfit for dietetic and domestic purposes. In a financial point of view, Artesian water thus conveyed would be attended with an immense saving of expense: Ist, as we have already shown, the assistance of engine power would not be required; and, 2ndly, the necessity of filtration would be superseded, so that the supply would be rendered con-' siderably cheaper, while the water itself would be infinitely purer and more salubrious than that which is at present provided. Subsequently to this meeting on the 13th of February, the Marquis of Westminster, as we anticipated in our January number (page 28.), brought forward his motion on the subject in the House of Lords. The noble Marquis stated,
“ That the question respecting the supply of pure water for the metropolis was undoubtedly one of great importance. It was a subject which had already engaged the attention of their lordships as well as of the other House of Parliament ; but notwithstanding an inquiry before a select committee of the House of Commons had taken place, and a report made thereon, still nothing satisfactory had been come to upon the subject. Their lordships were aware that the great object was to obtain a sufficient supply of pure water. Although the supply might be sufficiently obtained from the river Thames, yet, magnificent as that river in itself was, it was hardly possible to obtain pure water from that source. Many attempts had been made by the great monopolies, which the water-companies really were, to obviate this grievous evil. The Chelsea Water-company had formed a large filtering bed composed of sand, and which to a certain extent had, he believed, been successful, but he was afraid it had not succeeded. Other companies had tried to get more pure water, but they had not been very successful. But it was impossible to suppose that, even after all the money that had been thus expended, or after all the pains taken by the use of powerful machinery for throwing up the water to a hundred feet in height, any thing like pure and wholesome water could be obtained within such a distance of London from a stream like the Thames, into which hundreds of the most offensive drains were constantly pouring their pernicious contents, If, then, any means could be devised by which a purer description of water could be obtained, their lordships must feel that, for the sake of the health and happiness of the metropolis, it was most desirable that those means should be ascertained and adopted. To what, then, had their lordships to look for a supply of pure water? To nothing but the streams that surrounded this great metropolis. There were many streams within the circuit of ten or twelve miles, and particularly one on the north side of the metropolis, from which there was a very great fall. Undoubtedly, if a supply of pure water could be obtained within the metro. polis itself, it would be all that their lordships or the inhabitants could require. And he was
· aware that some year or two ago a company had been formed for the purpose of furnishing water from springs under the metropolis itself, by sinking what are termed Artesian wells; and if all which that company professed to accomplish could be verified, it would completely answer every purpose that could be desired. But he very niuch feared that the plan was impracticable. Another company, he was not sure of the name, but he believed it was called the London and Westminster Water-company- had also put forth a prospectus for doing what would undoubtedly be a great blessing to the metropolis — that of bringing not only pure water, but an ample supply of it to the inhabitants. "This company stated that they had taken a piece of land between two and three miles in extent one way, and a mile and a half the other, at a place called Bushy Heath, near Watford, and within ten or twelve miles of London, where, by boring, water of a very fine and pure description might be raised to within eighteen feet of the surface. This land was upwards of one hundred and sixty feet above the level of the city'of London, and consequently the water would flow without any sort of machinery being employed. Thus the great expense which was now incurred by the existing companies would be avoided. The water he had seen, and it was certainly of very excellent quality. He unuerstood that this water was raised through a soil composed of light sand and gravel ; that the springs were very near chalk hills; and that the quantity that could be supplied was sufficient to meet all the wants of the metropolis. For the supply of water thus obtained at Watford, a reservoir was to be formed at the Eyre Arms, in the neighbourhood of St. Jolin's Wood. The distribution thence to every part of the metropolis would be attended with little difficulty and little expense.”
The Earl of Essex in reply to the Marquis of Westminster observed, that he happened to live near Watford, and knew that the people there were alarmed at the idea of a supply being taken from that place, lest it should dry up the springs in the neighbourhood. We have just adverted to this apprehension which is purely ideal. If the good people of Watford will only consider how many noble streams derive their origin from these springs, from which the New River itself, by the way, at Chadwell, derives in great part its source; if they will look to the fact, that in no one instance has it been proved that the sinking of one Artesian spring has diminished the quantity of water supplied by another however closely approximated; and if they will calculate the immense volumes of water which, according to the diameter of the bore, are daily yielding in public manufactories an evidently inexhaustible supply, they will find that they have no practical data upon which the present plan can fairly be opposed. The great and flourishing town of Liverpool, with upwards of 100,000 inhabitants, is supplied by two of these Artesian springs only; and it is confidently affirmed, that one alone, with a larger bore, would yield an adequate supply. But to return: the House of Lords without a division agreed to the motion of the noble Marquis — " that a select committee be appointed to take into consideration the supply of water to the metropolis.” *
We have detailed the above proceedings with great pleasure, more especially as we have the satisfaction of knowing, that the article in the “ Monthly Chronicle” was in a great measure instrumental in bringing about this movement, which, if properly persevered in, must succeed. The committee of the House of Lords, and the noblemen and gentlemen appointed by the meeting, we have referred to, have a great public duty to perform, and the inhabitants of this metropolis will not fail to watch their proceedings with intense interest and anxiety.
The following are the names of the members of the committee : Lord President, Duke of Somerset, Marquis of Northampton, Marquis of Anglesey, Marquis of Weslminster, Earl of Essex, Earl of Wilton, Lord Bishop of London, Lord Dacre, Lord Howland, Lord Lilford, Lord Colchester, Lord Duncannon, Lord Ashburton, Lord Portman, Lord Sudeley, Lord Col
NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS. It is a good omen for the restoration of the drama -- an object which we have laboured for with untiring zeal, and, we are happy to say, increasing hope—that, even while the doors of the theatre are closed upon them, there are dramatists of high powers amongst us who continue, against discouragements of every possible kind, to prosecute their noble and humanising mission. The sacred fire still burns in its central integrity: neither managers nor monopolies can extinguish it; and whenever the liberation of the stage from the barbarous fetters of restrictive patents shall have been accomplished, there will be found in England a many-hearted life of genius, profound and earnest in its toils, ready to create a new drama, as comprehensive and true as the old, or rather to take up the tale where it was dropped by Shirley, the last of the race of giants, and to pour it out, with a fresh imagination, “ upon the listening ear of night.” The signs of the coming advent thicken upon us, and give ample assurance that a great era of dramatic poetry is close at hand. The plays that are published, from time to time, by writers who, having no other vent for their productions, are willing to hazard the dangerous experiment of appealing from the green-room to the closet, exhibit evidences of ability to which the future prospects of the stage may be safely confided. We have occasionally noticed several of these unacted pieces, and have now to add to the catalogue a work of sterling merit, in which a poet, hitherto unknown to us, discovers talents of a sound and lofty order.
The tragedy of “ Nina Sforza,” by Mr. Troughton', is founded upon simple and familiar materials, treated without artifice, but with a solid grasp of the vital truth embodied in them. The plot may be briefly described and dismissed, for it is not upon the novelty or intricacy of the story that this play rests its claims to consideration, but upon the vivid and natural delineation of the passions that well up through its scenes. Raphael Doria, a young prince of Genoa, who has somewhat offended his father by his wilful and extravagant courses, is sent out of the realm upon his travels for three years, and on his journey visits the house of Sforza, a noble Venetian. He is accompanied by two or three Genoese counts, and, amongst the rest, by Ugone Spinola, the head of a family that has long been at enmity with his own, but now apparently conciliated. Spinola is a suitor for the hand of Nina, Sforza's daughter, whose beauty, five years before, while sbe was yet a child, had made a deep impression upon him. But Nina, educated closely under the vigilant guardianship of a rigid father, knows nothing of his passion. Immediately after the arrival of the prince, being in a feluca on one of the canals, the boat is upset — the prince rescues her — and, with the characteristic warmth of their Italian climate, they fall in love with each other. A proposal follows rapidly, and Spinola is set aside for the son of the doge of Genoa. The old feud is at once rekindled in his heart: he remembers that his father was slain by the hand of a Doria; and he resolves to dedicate himself to the destruction of their happiness. Ample opportunity shortly opens to him : the old duke dies, and Raphael is called to assume the reins of government. He is scarcely seated in his regal power, when a war breaks out with the Florentines, and Raphael joins the camp in
Nina Sforza : a Tragedy in Fire Acts. By Rich. Zouch S. TROUGHTON. London: Saunders & Otley. 1840.