'A scene at the first erected public drinking fountain', London, 1859.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Tinted lithograph by C J Culliford, showing a man and woman beside a wall-mounted fountain offering 'filtered New River' water. A butcher's boy and a shoeblack make humorous comments. The butcher's boy says that the woman in the crinoline has been careful to wipe out the cup before drinking. The shoeblack replies that it's because the top-hatted man's beard has just been in the cup. The fountain's inscription reads 'The Gift of Samuel Gurney MP, 1859' made by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Asociation. Water suitable for drinking was brought from Befordshire to London via the 'New River' (completed 1613), a canal built under the direction of Sir Hugh Middleton (1560-1631).