Punch,  35 (1858), 71.

Slow but Sewer



Poetry, Drollery


Pollution, Agriculture, Commerce, Nutrition, Engineering, Public Health

    Asks 'sewage' why it pollutes rain and urges it to take its rainfall to the river and its sewage to the soil. Explains that by channelling its 'daily sewage' in 'modest tubes' rather than 'monstrous tunnels' to meadows it will purify 'Your rain-brooks', feed cows, fertilise soil, and make profit for farmers. Stressing the amount of dairy produce that could be made from this use of sewage, considers it a waste to throw 'A thousand pounds a day' into 'the German Sea'. The key focus of the poem, however, is an attack on Joseph W Bazalgette and his Metropolitan Board of Works for building expensive sewage tunnels that will overflow on 'rainy days', and lose valuable sewage and leave rivers 'stinking'. Calls on rate-payers to cry 'Sewage to soil and Rain to river' and to demand 'Pipes and profit'.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

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