EVERY house built or rebuilt since the passing of the Metropolitan Sewers Act in , must be drained, with an exception, which I shall specify, into a sewer. The law, indeed, divested of its technicalities is this: the owner of a newlyerected house must drain it to a sewer, without the intervention of a cesspool, if there be a sewer within feet of the site of the house; and, if necessary, in places but partially built over, such owner must continue the sewer along the premises, and make the necessary drain into it; all being done under the approval of the proper officer under the Commissioners. If there be, however, an established sewer, along the side, front, or back of any house, a covered drain must be made into that at the cost of the owner of the premises to be drained. "Where a sewer," says the section of the Act, "shall already be made, and a drain only shall be required, the party is to pay a contribution towards the original expense of the sewer, if it shall have been made within years before the , the contribution to be paid to the builder of the sewer." . . . . . . "In cases where there shall be no sewer into which a drain could be made, the party must make a covered drain to lead into a cesspool or other place (not under a house) as the Commissioners may direct. If the parties infringe this rule, the Commissioners may
|do the work and throw the cost on them in the nature of an improvement rate, or as charges for default, and levy the amount by distress."|
I mention these circumstances more particularly to show the extent, and the far-continued ramification, of the subterranean metropolis. I am assured by of the largest builders in the western district of the capital that the new regulations (as to the dispensing with cesspools) are readily complied with, as it is a recommendation which a house agent, or any letting new premises, is never slow to advance ("and when it's the truth," he said, "they do it with a better grace"), that there will be in the course of occupancy no annoyance and no expense incurred in the clearing away of cesspoolage.
I shall at present describe only the housedrainage, which is connected with the public sewerage. The old mode of draining a house separately into the cesspool of the premises will, of course, be described under the head of cesspoolage, and that old system is still very prevalent.
At the times of passing both general and local Acts concerning buildings, town improvements and extensions, the erection of new streets and the removal of old, much has been said and written concerning better systems of ventilating, warming, and draining dwelling-houses; but until after the outbreak of cholera in England, in , little public attention was given to the great drainage of all the sewers. However, on the passing of the Building and Sanitary Acts generally, the authorities made many experiments, not so much to improve the system of sewerage as of house-drainage, so as to make the dwellinghouses more wholesome and sweet.
To effect this, the great object was the abolition of the cesspool system, under which filth must accumulate, and where, from scamped buildings or other causes, evaporation took place, the effects of the system were found to be vile and offensive, and have been pronounced miasmatic. Having just alluded to these matters, I proceed to describe the modernly-adopted connection of house-drainage and street-sewerage.
Experiments, as I have said, were set on foot under the auspices of public bodies, and the opinions of eminent engineers, architects, and surveyors were also taken. Their opinions seem really to be concentrated in the advocacy of remedy—improved house-drainage; and they appear to have agreed that the system which is at present adopted is, under the circumstances, the best that can be adopted.
I was told also by an eminent practical builder, perfectly unconnected with any official or public body, and, indeed, often at issue with surveyors, &c., that the new system was unquestionably a great improvement in every respect, and that some years before its adoption as at present he had abetted such a system, and had carried it into effect when he could properly do so.
I will show the mode and then the cost of the new system.
I find it designated "back," "front," "tubu- lar," and "pipe" house-drainage, and all with the object of carrying off all fæces, soil water, cesspool matter, &c., before it has had time to accumulate. It is not by brick or other drains of masonry that the system is carried out or is recommended to be carried out, but by means of tubular earthenware pipes; and for any efficient carrying out of the projected improvement a system of , and not as at present , supply of water from the several companies would be best. These pipes communicate with the nearest sewer. The pipes in the tubular drainage are of red earthenware or stoneware (pot).
The use of earthenware, clay, or pot pipes for the conveyance of liquids is very ancient. Mr. Stirrat, a bleacher in Paisley, in a statement to the Board of Health, mentioned that clay pipes were used in ancient times. King Hezekiah ( Book of Kings, chap. , and Book of Chronicles, chap. ) brought in water from Jerusalem. "His pool and conduit," said Mr. Stirrat, "are still to be seen. The conduit is feet square inside, built of freestone, strongly cemented; the stone, inches thick, evidently intended to sustain a considerable pressure; and I have seen pipes of clay, taken by a friend from a house in the ruins of the ancient city, of inch bore, and about inches in diameter, proving evidently, to my mind, that ancient Jerusalem was supplied with water on the principle of gravitation. The pools or reservoirs are also at this day in tolerably good order, of them still filled with water; the other broken down in the centre, no doubt by some besieging enemy, to cut off the supply to the city."
The new system to supply the place of the cesspools is a , while the old is principally a , system of house-drainage; but the new system is equally available for such separate drainage.
As regards the success of this system the reports say experiments have been tried in so large a number of houses, under such varied and, in many cases, disadvantageous circumstances, that no doubts whatsoever can remain in the minds of competent and disinterested persons as to the efficient self-cleansing action of well-adjusted tubular drains and sewers, even without any additional supplies of water.
Mr. Lovick said:—
" of the earliest illustrations of the tubular system," it is stated in a Report of the Board of Health, "was given in the improved drainage of a block of houses in the cloisters of ,
|which had been the seat of a severe epidemic fever. The cesspools and the old drains were filled up, and an entire system of tubular drainage and sewerage substituted for the service of that block of houses.|
Mr. Gotto, the engineer, having stated that in a plan for the improvement of Goulston-street, Whitechapel, not only was the removal of all cesspools contemplated, but also the substitution of water-closet apparatus, gave the following estimate of , provided the pipes were made and the work done by contract under the Commissioners of Sewers:—
The tubular drainage of a similar house (with yards of carriage-way to be paved) would cost ; or the drainage would cost, according to the old system,
The engineers have calculated — stating the difficulty of coming to a nice calculation — that the present system of cesspools entailed an average expenditure, for cleansing and repairs, of a week on each householder; and that by the new system it would be but The Board of Health's calculations, however, are, I regret to say, always dubious.
The subjoined scale of the difference in cost was prepared at the instance of the Board.
Mr. Grant took blocks of houses for examination, and the results are given as a guide to what would be the general expenditure if the change took place:—
"In block of houses—
The length of drains by back drainage was feet.
Cost (exclusive of pans, traps, and water in both cases) of back drainage, , or per house.
Cost of separate tubular drainage, , or per house.
Cost of separate brick drains, , or per house.
"In another block of houses—
The length of back drains was feet.
Of separate drains, feet.
The cost of back tubular drains, , or per house.
Of separate tubular drains, , or per house.
Of separate brick drains, , or per house.
"In another block of houses—
The length of back drainage, feet.
Ditto by separate ditto, feet.
The cost of back tubular drainage, , or per house.
Ditto of separate ditto ditto, , or per house.
Ditto of separate brick ditto, , or per house.
"In a block of houses—
The length of back drains, feet.
Ditto of separate ditto, feet.
Cost of back tubular drainage, , or per house.
Ditto of separate ditto ditto, , or per house.
Ditto of separate brick ditto, , or per house."
I have mentioned the diversity of opinion as to the best form, and even material, for a sewer; and there is the same diversity as to the material, &c., for house and gully or street-drainage, more especially in the of the larger volume. The pipe-drainage of any description is far less in favour than it was. reason is that it does not promote another is the difficulty of repairs if the joints or fittings of pipes require mending; and then the combination of the noxious gases is most offensive in its exhalations, and difficult to overcome.
I was informed by a nightman, used to the cleansing of drains and to night-work generally, that when there was any escape from of the tubular pipes the stench was more intense than any he had ever before experienced from any drains on the old system.
|View all images in this book|
|Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles|
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Trays, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Linen, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curtains
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Carpeting, Flannels, Stocking-Legs, &c., &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Bed-Ticking, Sacking, Fringe, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Glass and Crockery
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Miscellaneous Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Musical Instruments
Of the Music 'Duffers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Weapons
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curiosities
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Telescopes and Pocket Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Other Miscellaneous Second-Hand Articles
Of Second-Hand Store Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Wholesale Business at the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Uses of Second-Hand Garments
Of the Street-Sellers of Petticoat and Rosemary-Lanes
Of the Street-Sellers of Men's Second-Hand Clothes
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Boots and Shoes
Of the Street-Sellers of Old Hats
Of the Street-Sellers of Women's Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Furs
Of the Second-Hand Sellers of Smithfield- Market
|Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals|
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Former Street-Sellers, 'Finders,' Stealers, and Restorers of Dogs
Of a Dog-'Finder' -- A 'Lurker's' Career
Of the Present Street-Sellers of Dogs.
Of the Street-Sellers of Sporting Dogs
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Birds
Of the Bird-Catchers Who are Street- Sellers
Of the Crippled Street Bird-Seller
Of the Tricks of the Bird-Duffers
Of the Street-Sellers of Foreign Birds
Of the Street-Sellers of Birds'--Nests
Of the Street-Sellers of Squirrels
Of the Street-Sellers of Leverets, Wild Rabbits, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Gold and Silver Fish
Of the Street-Sellers of Tortoises
Of the Street-Sellers of Snails, Frogs, Worms, Snakes, Hedgehogs, Etc.
|Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities|
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Coals
Of the Street-Sellers of Coke
Of the Street-Sellers of Tan-Turf
Of the Street-Sellers of Salt
Of the Street-Sellers of Sand
Of the Street-Sellers of Shells
Of the River Beer-Sellers, or Purl-Men
Of the Numbers, Capital, and income of the Street- Sellers of Second-Hand Articles, Live Animals, Mineral Producions, Etc.
Income, or 'Takinags' of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
|Of the Street-Buyers|
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Buyers of Rags, Broken Metal, Bottles, Glass, and Bones
Of the 'Rag-and-Bottle,' and the 'Marine-Store' Shops
Of the Buyers of Kitchen-Stuff, Grease, and Dripping
Of the Street-Buyers of Hare and Rabbit Skins
Of the Street-Buyers of Waste (Paper)
Of the Street-Buyers of Umbrellas and Parasols
|Of the Street-Jews|
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Trades and Localities of the Street-Jews
Of the Jew Old-Clothes Men
Of a Jew Street-Seller
Of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Pursuits, Dwellings, Traffic, Etc., of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Street Jewesses and Street Jew-Girls
Of the Synagogues and the Religion of the Street and Other Jews
Of the Politics, Literature, and Amusements of the Jews
Of the Charities, Schools, and Education of the Jews
Of the Funeral Ceremonies, Fasts, and Customs of the Jews
Of the Jew Street-Sellers of Accordions, and of their Street Musical Pursuits
Of the Street-Buyers of Hogs'--Wash
Of the Street-Buyers of Tea-Leaves
|Of the Street-Finders or Collectors|
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Bone-Grubbers and Rag-Gatherers
Of the 'Pure'-Finders
Of the Cigar-End Finders
Of the Old Wood Gatherers
Of the Dredgers, or River Finders
Of the Sewer-Hunters
Of the Mud-Larks
Of the London Dustmen, Nightmen, Sweeps, and Scavengers
Of the Dustmen of London
Of the London Sewerage and Scavengery
|Of the Streets of London|
Of the Streets of London
Of the Traffic of London
Of the Dust and Dirt of the Streets of London
Of the Street-Dust of London, and the Loss and injury Occasioned by it
Of the Horse-Dung of the Streets of London
Of Street 'Mac' and Other Mud
Of the Mud of the Streets
Of the Surface-Water of the Streets of London
Of the Master Scavengers in Former Times
Of the Several Modes and Characteristics of Street-Cleansing
Of the Contractors For Scavengery
Of the Contractors' (or Employers') Premises, &c.
Of the Working Scavengers Under the Contractors
Of the 'Casual Hands' Among the Scavagers
Of the Influence of Free Trade on the Earnings of the Scavagers
Of the Worse Paid Scavagers, or Those Working For Scurf Employers
Of the Street-Sweeping Machine, and the Street-Sweepers Employed With it
Of the Cleansing of the Streets by Pauper Labour
Of the Street-Orderlies
Street Orderlies -- City Surveyor's Report
Of the 'Jet and Hose' System of Scavaging
Of the Cost and Traffic of the Streets of London
Of the Rubbish Carters
Of Casual Labour in General, and That of the Rubbish-Carters in Particular
Of the Casual Labourers among the Rubbish-Carters
The Effects of Casual Labour in General
Of the Scurf Trade Among the Rubbish- Carters
|Of the London Chimney-Sweepers|
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Sweepers of Old, and the Climbing Boys
Of the Chimney-Sweepers of the Present Day
Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
Sweeping of the Chimneys of Steam-Vessels
Of the 'Ramoneur' Company
Of the Brisk and Slack Seasons, and the Casual Trade among the Chimney- Sweepers
Of the 'Leeks' Among the Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Inferior Chimney-Sweepers -- the 'Knullers' and 'Queriers'
Of the Fires of London
Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London
Of the Wet House-Refuse of London
Of the Means of Removing the Wet House-Refuse
Of the Quantity of Metropolitan Sewage
Of Ancient Sewers
Of the Kinds and Characteristics of Sewers
Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
Of the House-Drainage of the Metropolis as Connected With the Sewers
Of the London Street-Drains
Of the Length of the London Sewers and Drains
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis
Of the Uses of Sewers as a Means of Subsoil Drainage
Of the City Sewerage
Of the Outlets, Ramifications, Etc., of the Sewers
Of the Qualities, Etc., of the Sewage
Of the New Plan of Sewerage
Of the Management of the Sewers and the Late Commissions
Of the Powers and Authority of the Present Commissions of Sewers
Of the Sewers Rate
Of the Cleansing of the Sewers -- Ventilation
Of 'Flushing' and 'Plonging,' and Other Modes of Washing the Sewers
Of the Working Flushermen
Of the Rats in the Sewers
Of the Cesspoolage and Nightmen of the Metropolis
Of the Cesspool System of London
Of the Cesspool and Sewer System of Paris
Of the Emptying of the London Cesspools by Pump and Hose
Statement of a Cesspool-Sewerman
Of the Present Disposal of the Night-Soil
Of the Working Nightmen and the Mode of Work