F.G.S., F.S.A.,


Area 176 Square Miles. Scale 1/17032 of nature.

The object of this Map is to represent by contour lines the variations of level of the surface of the ground in and around London, derived from surveys and detailed investigations by the Author, as also to represent the inhabited area of the Metropolis over which the Mains and Service pipes of the nine separate Water Companies extend. The Map embraces the district extending from Kew Bridge on the West, to Plumstead Marshes on the East, distant 16 miles, and from Hornsey on the North to the Crystal Palace on the South, 11 miles. The situation of the principal Public Buildings and junctions of the main Roads are shown in order to identify the localities.

Besides the Contour lines, many interesting facts relating to Public Works are recorded, such as the course of Canals and level of water at the Locks, the lines of Railways and level of Rails at the Stations, the falls at Mills and Weirs, the area of the principal Docks, the width of their Entrance Gates, and the depth of water on the Sills. The width of the River Thames and the Sectional Area of the River and maximum depth at high water are given at several points, also the level of the Lowest Spring Tides, the lineal waterway of all the Bridges, and the Drainage Area of the River. The Boundaries of the thirty-seven new Districts of the Metropolis Local Management Act are also shown.

The Datum from which all the levels and contours are taken is the Thames High Water Mark, Trinity standard, London Docks, which is 12.5 feet above the mean tide level at Liverpool -- or Ordnance Datum. The contour lines represent 10-feet differences of altitude, and each 50-foot line is strongly marked and figured.

The situation of London, on the banks of a broad and noble River, at a navigable distance of 48 miles from the open sea at the Nore, on a healthy soil, and at a point where the valley contracts to a width of less than three miles between rising ground with higher hills in the rear, possesses great commercial and sanitary advantages, and fully justifies its selection in early times as an appropriate site for an important town. A considerable portion of the Metropolis stands on gravel of moderate thickness resting on clay and occasionally covered with beds of brick-earth -- the latter providing the staple material for building purposes, and the former affording a dry and salubrious substratum, and, from its permeable character, generally yielding water at a small depth. In many places where the rising grounds are capped by this gravel numerous springs issued, which in ancient times were carefully conveyed by conduits to public cisterns and fountains at various parts of the town; from Tyburn in 1236, from Highbury in 1438, and from Hackney, White Conduit Fields, Hoxton, Paddington, etc., while important supplies of equal antiquity were obtained from shallow wells, such as Holywell, Clerkenwell, St. Clement's etc. Upon such sources London had chiefly relied until nearly the end of the 16th century, when, from their comparatively scanty supply and deterioration by disturbance and increase of cesspools and sewers, the urgent necessity for improvement caused a Dutch Engineer, Peter Moryce, in 1582, to design and erect a tidal water-wheel at London Bridge. This was the first mechanical system adopted for an extensive supply of water, and leaden pipes were laid into the houses in the higher parts of London. The project was successful, the wheels were increased in number, and the entire works with various improvements existed until 1822, a period of 240 years. Previous to the establishment of Moryce's works, the use of the common lifting pump had been very limited, but its value had now become sufficiently known to give rise to several minor water-work schemes, some by wheels worked on the course of brooks and sewers, others by horses and by windmills. In 1594 Bevis Bulmar erected a large horse-engine at Broken Wharf to pump water from the Thames through leaden pipes into the City; and about four years later, Reservoirs appear to have been in course of construction for collecting and bringing to London various springs issuing from the base of the Bagshot sands overlying the London clay and forming the summits of the Hampstead and Highgate hills. In 1609 the bold and enterprising Hugh Myddelton conceived and executed an artificial cut to convey spring water from the chalk hills near Ware in Hertfordshire; the course following the contour of the country and crossing but few valleys, extended to 36 miles in length, and terminated at Reservoirs on elevated ground at Islington, from whence by gravitation through wooden pipes a supply was obtained throughout the City under a pressure of above 60 feet.

Nearly a century passed before any further important undertakings took place, when in 1691 the York Buildings Water Works were constructed to pump Thames water by a horse-engine for the supply of Piccadilly, Whitehall, etc. Again in 1723, for a district further west, the Chelsea Water Works were established, with water-wheels on the banks of the Thames. On the South side of the River, in 1701, a wheel was constructed on the River Ravenshourne for the supply of Greenwich and Deptford, forming the Kent Water Works; and in 1765 Southwark obtained a supply from the Thames by the erection of a horse-engine in Park Street, called the Borough Water Works, and two years later, from an extension of Moryce's Works, by the erection of water-wheels in an arch on the Southwark side of London Bridge. In 1785, the Lambeth Water Works were established on the banks of the Thames, opposite the Adelphi; and in 1805 the Vauxhall Water Works, drawing their supply from the River Effra. The gradual increase of the Metropolis, and the opportunities for competition with improved machinery, gave rise to the establishment, in 1806, of the West Middlesex Water Works at Hammersmith, where steam-engines were erected and Thames water was raised for the supply of Kensington, etc.; while to the eastward, at Bow, in 1807, the East London Water Works were established for raising water from the River Lea by steam power, with which Works those of Shadwell and West Ham, constructed at a much earlier date, were incorporated. Still later, in 1810, the Grand Junction Water Works were established for the supply of Paddington, etc. Besides the numerous water-works, several manufactories and public places have within the last half-century obtained considerable supplies from Artesian wells sunk through the London clay to the underlying sands. The water originally rose to the surface of the low grounds; the increased number of these wells, however, soon lowered the water level, and after some years they were often carried down into the chalk, from which formation many private establishments now derive supplies. The introduction of steam and its application to water engines, formed an entirely new era in the system of Water Supply. About 1710, one of Savery's engines was erected at the York Buildings, and later, Neweomen's were generally adopted; but these were abandoned so soon as the inventive genius of Watt had produced, in 1786, his expansive condenser engine and applied it to pumping purposes. The general adoption of Boulton and Watt's improved and powerful engines, constructed of metal with air-vessels for pumping direct into the mains, and the substitution of cast-iron for wooden pipes, may be dated from about 1810.

The districts of the nine Water Companies which now supply London are distinguished by separate colors on the annexed Map. The sources of supply are also given, the number of tenements, and the position and level of the various Filtering, Storage and Service Reservoirs, and Engine Establishments.

The Session of 1852 terminated a long series of inquiries and discussions on the question of Water-supply to the Metropolis, in which rival schemes and conflicting opinons were prevalent. During six years of Sanitary agitation, the Water Companies, already pressed by the rapid growth of the town, had to meet the increased demands consequent on new customs and requirements, and from the suspense as to their future organization few new works of improvement had been executed. The Legislature having decided against the admission of Competition, the old established Companies readily accepted engagements, under fresh powers, to extend their works, to improve their sources, to supply fixed districts, and conform to a new system of rates and general regulations. Of the Five Companies drawing from the Thames, four moved their establishments to points above the influence of the tide; and the other, the Lambeth, had three years previously anticipated this step. The New River has been enlarged, and its course shortened; and the waters of the Lea, forming part of its sources, have been improved by the removal of town drainage. The East London also take their supply from a higher point on the River Lea, and have executed costly works for the removal of the suburban drainage. Large and extensive works for the filtration and the subsequent storage in capacious covered Reservoirs of all the water supplied for domestic purposes have been carried out, and engines of considerable power have been erected to give increased pressure and more frequent service. From the table below, besides other interesting details, it will be seen that about 2.5 millions sterling has already been expended in New Works, and that the maximum consumption in dry seasons amounts to nearly 87.5 million gallons daily, or 9,751 cubic feet per minute.

Click on section of table to enlarge

Published for the Author by Edward Stanford, Charing Cross, London

Engraved and Printed from Stone by Waterlow and Sons,