The Song of the Drains
Pollution, Public Health, Politics, Engineering
Begins by contemplating the prospect of a multitude of sewers in London, and proceeds to describe the political controversy over the state of the Thames, one politician in Erith complaining that 'You have poisoned us all on the rive, / By the mess you have made with the drains'. Turns to a farmer who laments the waste in sewage and how much money he could make from it, and then describes how Lord Robert Montagu held a meeting to discuss 'what's to be done with the drains'. Notes the conflicting contributions to the meeting from 'mudlarking contractors' and 'those who wanted the drains', the people of Edinburgh who drew attention to the drainage system of their city, 'the contractors of Rugby' who want to water their land with drains owing to poor rainfall, Robert Napier and W Hope who promise to make 'A Paradise all from the drains', and 'the owners of lands and terrains' in Highgate and Hampstead who want sewage irrespective of smell. Notes that these different parties argue over 'their filthy old mains' in The Times, and looking forward to the end of the debate, promises to make he who 'Cleans the Water from Sheerness to Stained', 'King of the Drains'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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