'Monster Soup', 1828.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured satirical engraving by William Heath (1795-1840), also know by his pseudonym Paul Pry, showing a lady discovering the quality of the Thames water. The top title reads: 'Microcosm dedicated to the London Water Companies. Brought forth all monstrous, all prodigious things, hydras and organs, and chimeras dire.' The bottom title reads: 'Monster Soup commonly called Thames Water being a correct representation of that precious stuff doled out to us!'. It is probably a reference to the water distributed by the Chelsea Water works. By the 1820s, public concern was growing at the increasingly polluted water supply taken from the Thames in London. In 1831 and 1832 the city experienced its first outbreaks of cholera.