BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)

Of several water companies, including West Middlesex, Dr. Snow wrote:

"In the north districts of London, which suffered much less from cholera than the south districts, the mortality was chiefly influenced by the poverty and crowding of the population. The New River Company having entirely left off the use of their engine in the city, their water, being entirely free from sewage, could have had no share in the propagation of cholera. It is probable also, that the water of the East London Company, obtained above Lea Bridge, had no share in propagating the malady; and that this is true also of the West Middlesex Company, obtaining their supply from the Thames at Hammersmith; and of the Grand Junction Company, obtaining their supply at Brentford. All these Water Companies have large settling reservoirs. It is probable also, as I stated above, that the Chelsea Company in 1849, by careful filtration and by detaining the water in their reservoirs, rendered it in a great degree innocuous.

- Snow, John. Communication of Cholera, 1855, pp. 64-5

Snow went on to write: 

"The West Middlesex Company, obtaining their supply from the Thames at Hammersmith, have also very large reservoirs, and the districts they supply have suffered but little from cholera, except the Kensington brick fields, Starch Green, and certain other spots, crowded with poor people, chiefly Irish."

- Snow, John. Communication of Cholera, 1855, p. 93

The West Middlesex Waterworks Company was founded in 1806 with intake from the River Thames at Hammersmith, upriver from central London and beyond the 1859 map.   In 1808 the company  installed cast iron pipes to supply the Marylebone and Paddington regions of London.  The water company maintained a 3.5 million gallon reservoir at Campden Hill.  In 1825, a new reservoir was constructed on Barrow Hill next to Primrose Hill.  In 1853-55, the Hammersmith site on the River Thames was closed and the new pumping works were established on the River Thames about a quarter of a mile above the village of Hampton, some distance from London and well above the tides. The decision to move was forced by Parliament in 1852, wanting a cleaner source of water.  Also moving to the Hampton site was the Southwark and Vauxhall water company and Grand Junction water company.  The new Hampton facility was completed in 1855. The Campden Hill and Barrow Hill reservoirs remained, however, and received water from the new intake.  The two reservoirs were not covered until 1860.

The outline of both reservoirs is shown in the 1859 map.  The Campden Hill reservoir is in M 3, at the center just above "Pee" in Peel Street. 

LOCATION OF CAMPDEN HILL RESERVOIR IN 1859 REYNOLDS MAP

(Quarter Mile Section - M 3)

 

Old Ordnance Survey Map of 1871

Click here to see more details 12 years later

 

The Barrow Hill reservoir is silhouetted at the top of E 9 just above Barrow Hill Road

 

LOCATION OF BARROW HILL RESERVOIR IN 1859 REYNOLDS MAP

(Quarter Mile Section - E 9)

Sources:

Dickinson HW. Water Supply of Greater London, 1959.

Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.