The mid-nineteenth century saw large increases in London’s population and both the quality and quantity of water required to sustain the Capital had become a major concern. A series of Royal Commissions were instigated to look into the issue and a major political debate ensued over the decades that followed as to how best to resolve the issue.
Opinion was divided as to whether the existing sources of water from within the Thames catchment would be adequate compared with the potential to supply water from upland sources further afield. Disputes arose as to who was best placed to supply London’s water supply; but it was not until after the formation of the Metropolitan Water Board at the turn of the 20th Century that decisions were taken that significantly improved London’s water storage position. This resulted in the progressive development of the storage reservoir system within the Thames catchment that we rely on to this day.
The presenter will chart, from a historical perspective, the key events and look at some of the early proposals from the Victorian era. This will be followed by a look at the planning and implementation of the programme for the construction of London storage reservoir system. This was successfully achieved during the first 70 years of 20th Century, despite the impact of two world wars and the resulting economic conditions that prevailed.
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