London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis.
THE money actually expended in constructing the miles of sewers and miles of drains, even if we were only to date from , is not and never can be known. They have been built at intervals, as the metropolis, so to speak, They were built also in many sizes and forms, and at many variations of price, according to the depth from the surface, the good or bad management, or the greater or lesser extent of jobbery or "patronage" in the several independent commissions. Accounts were either not presented in "the good old times," or not preserved.
Had the miles of sewers to be constructed anew, they would be, according to the present prices paid by the Commissioners—not including digging or such extraneous labour, but the cost of the sewer only—as follows:—
As this is a lower charge than was paid for the construction of more than -fourths of the sewers, we may fairly assume that their cost amounted to from millions and a half to millions of pounds sterling.
The majority of the house-drains running into the sewers are brick, and seldom less than inches square; sometimes, in the old brick drains, they are some inches larger, and in the very old drains, and in some years old, wooden planks were often used instead of a brick or stone construction, for the sake of reducing cost, and replaced when rotted. The wood, in many cases, soon decayed, and since no wooden sewers have been allowed to be formed, nor any old ones to be repaired with new wood; the work must be of stone or brick, if not pipeage. About -thirds
|of the drains running from the houses to the sewers are brick; the remaining tubular, or earthenware pipes. The cost, if now to be formed, would be somewhat as follows:—|
The cost of the street or gully drains have still to be estimated.
The present cost of the -inch gully-pipe drains is about a foot; of the -inch, Of the proportionate lengths of these classes of street-drains I have not been able to gain any account, for, I believe, it has never been ascertained in any way approaching to a total return. Taking miles, however, as quite within the full length of the gully-drains, and calculating at the low average of the foot for the whole, the total cost of the street-drains of the metropolis would be , or, I am assured, might say a million sterling, and this, even if all were done at the present low prices; the original cost would, of course, have been much greater.
Hence, according to the above calculations, we have the following