The Early Years

Before telling our story it may be helpful to give a brief glance at the background of contemporary events of those early years.

Only five years before our story begins the first public telegraph system had been erected, but the telephone was not yet invented by Bell it was not installed in London until 1876 and the Water Works Company was in 1888 discussing whether or not they should have the apparatus installed.






An Old-time Higgler

or Hawker of water

Robert Peel had reorganised the Police Force in London in 1830, and 1839 saw the advent of that great benefit to commerce Rowland Hill's penny postage.

The latter part of the 18th century had seen the extension of a boon to the pottery industry, the canal system, the development of which had been promoted by the great Josiah Wedgwood with the eminent James Brindley as the engineer.

The railway system was weaving its spider‑like web over all the country side indeed some of the first premises to be supplied by the new Water Works Company were the railway stations of the district.

In different, but no less important vein, the year 1832 had seen a serious epidemic in London of the water‑borne disease, cholera, and in 1848-49 another cholera epidemic cost 18,036 lives; 20,000 died from the same disease in still another epidemic in 1853.

These events may perhaps be said to have played a part in our story for the promise of greater safety for person and more security for property, coupled with the improved, quicker and cheaper transport and communications afforded by the canal, the railway, the telegraph and the penny post, undoubtedly brought improved trade and industry and with it increased population in the industrial areas, particularly those near to the coal fields.

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