Victoria Park drinking fountain, London, 1862.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Following the establishment of the Metropolitan Free Drinking Foundation Asociation in 1858, fountains supplying pure cold water sprang up all over London. Prior to this, clean water was not readily availible to the poor, in spite of legislation that required water from the River Thames to be extracted above Teddington in Middlesex, and filtered before consumption. Some of the drinking fountains were erected as memorials to the great and the good. Perhaps the grandest was that established in Victoria Park by the philanthropist Angela Burdett Coutts, at a cost of 6000 pounds.