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1900 Southwark And Vauxhall Water Company


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Stock Code SVW1900

  Certificate for 800 of debenture stock 'A' in this London water  company, dated 29th September 1900. Actual handwritten  signatures of Charles M Vealls, director and Montague Watts, Company Secretary. Issued to Algernon John Cameron,  care of Telford and Jackson of 4 Copthall Chambers, London, and William Henry Theodore Tyndale Powell of 5 Raymond Buildings, Grays Inn, London. Ornate left hand scrollwork, together with imprint of company seal

Certificate size is 24 cm wide x 20 cm high. It will be mounted in a mahogany frame, with gold inlay, size 30 cm high x 40 cm wide.

A perfect personalised gift for someone who:

  • works or worked in the water industry or
  • has the surname Vealls, Watts, Cameron or Powell

About This Company

Framed Certificate Price : 95.00

Certificate Only Price : 50.00


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About This Company

Southwark Water Company

Two powerful steam engines were erected by Vaughn at his Southwark Water Company site to pump river water through iron pipes, varying in diameter from three to 16 inches.  The company extended a large iron main along the bottom of the middle of the River Thames, eight feet below the low water mark to a location by the London Bridge.  The opening of the pipe, or mouth, was situated a short distance up-stream  from the old and later the new London Bridge.  The mouth was covered with an iron semi-sphere, perforated with many small holes. Inside was a mesh screen to catch particles that may have passed through the small holes.  The company used no reservoirs but instead pumped river water to a cistern at the top of a sixty-foot high tower. The water then flowed by gravity to the consuming houses.  Among consumers of the Southwark Water Company, the reputation for quality was poor, as depicted in a widely circulated caricature by George Cruikshank.  

"Between 1839 and 1849 many changes took place in the water-supply of London. The Southwark Water Company united with the South London Waterworks Company (merger occurred in 1845) to form a new water works under the name of the Southwark and Vauxhall Company. The water works at London Bridge were abolished, and the united company derived their supply from the Thames at Battersea Fields, about half-a-mile above Vauxhall Bridge."

- Snow, John. Communication of Cholera, 1855, p. 60

"..in every district to which the supply of the Southwark and Vauxhall .. Water Company extends, the cholera was more fatal than in any other district whatever." 

- Snow, John. Communication of Cholera, 1855, p. 64

Vauxhall Water Company

The South London Water Waterworks Company was renamed the Vauxhall Water Company in 1834.  At the same time, the company acquired some of the water distribution area that was formerly served by the Lambeth Waterworks Company.  As a result some areas south of the River Thames were supplied by both the Vauxhall Water Company and the Lambeth Waterworks Company.  Later this intertwining distribution of water would be used by Dr. John Snow in conducting the grand experiment of 1854.

Thereafter in 1845 the Vauxhall Water Company  and Southwark Water Company merged to form the Southwark and Vauxhall Water Company.  

Southwark and Vauxhall Water Company

The intake and reservoirs of the merged company, established at Battersea south of the River Thames, covered nearly 18 acres of ground.  Their steam engines had the power to force water to a perpendicular height of 175 feet, thus enabling them to supply Thames river water to Brixton and the surrounding higher areas.  Yet all was not well.  Arthur Hassall, in his 1850 book, Microscopic Examination of the Water Supplied to the Inhabitants of London, wrote of the company, "It is water the most disgusting which I have ever examined.  When I first saw the water of the Southwark Company (before the merger), I thought it as bad as it could be, but this far exceeded it in the peculiarly repulsive character of living contents." 

In 1855, new waterworks were established at Hampton (i.e., 22 miles up-river from the Vauxhall Bridge, even further than the Chelsea and Lambeth Waterworks Companies), as was required by the 1852 Metropolitan Water Act of Parliament (see 1855 picture below).  Parliament in this act declared that no water company after August 31, 1855 should take its water from the River Thames below Teddington Lock.  The company complied, but not until close to the August 1855 deadline.  Two reservoirs were constructed by Southwark and Vauxhall in the Hampton area along with a 36 inch diameter water main  for conveying the cleaner water to the company's Battersea site in London.  With this change, the quality of the company's water greatly improved, although as late as 1874 the filtration system was still criticized as unreliable by Hampton residents (who also received the water).  By 1869, Southwark and Vauxhall had installed a modern percolation filtration system at the Battersea site in London, adding to the general improvement of the supplied drinking water.  

Source: www.ph.ucla.edu


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