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Saturday, April 20, 2024

What we learnt from Victorian plumbing needs

The Victorian House was the start of what we would recognise as a modern home. However, it should be noted that these examples were in those owned by the more well-to-do in society. In other words, to have a decent and comfortable living experience in the Victorian era, you needed to be very rich. Most homes were not plumbed in at all. If they were, the system was rudimentary. There was little, if any consideration, for the working classes. They would still be using buckets and a tin bath for cleanliness, and the communal water collection point trip was not unheard of. With industrialisation, cities and towns had grown so quickly that what we would know of as infrastructure could not keep up.

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An example of this is the Great Stink in London in 1858.  The capital had relied on sewers that dated back to Medieval and even Roman times. The build-up of human waste created a massive backlog of rubbish that began to smell. Unfortunately, the Thames was unable to cope, and so were the drains. A radical solution was needed, and the Government would have to pay for it from the public purse, something they significantly did not want to do. Following a radical design, new pumping stations were built, and large sections of new sewers and drains, even used today, were constructed to avoid it happening again, Much like an Emergency Plumber Gloucester way such as https://www.hprservicesltd.com/emergency-plumber-gloucester/.

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The improvements in residential plumbing came about with the era of industrialisation. Plumbers suddenly had access to materials and techniques that previously were impossible for them to use. For example, copper piping became much more available for them to install. Copper is excellent as piping as it does not rust easier, and it doesn’t deposit harmful metals into the water supply as lead piping does. It’s also easier to bend and shape. It meant that with water pressure behind it,  the unheard-of situation of water being available on a level other than the ground floor became available. When this was combined with a gas boiler, wealthy Victorians had access to hot water for bathing, which hadn’t been seen in Britain since the well off Roman Britons had hypocausts to heat their vast baths.

The plumbing of these large townhouses and the Great houses built out in the Countryside allow the plumbers to study and adopt the new ways of working to other properties and homes. Other major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle were all starting to follow the example set in London and improve the sewer system so that different homes and streets could access clean water. However, the authorities recognised that decent plumbing and water supply was essential for workers to stay fit and productive. They certainly did not consider the humanitarian need; that was just a bonus.

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