Metropolitan Water Board (London)

Metropolitan Water Board (London)

Metropolitan Water Board (London)

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The Metropolitan Water Board was founded in 1903 to bring the nine private water companies supplying water to London under a single public body. The members of the board were nominated by the various local authorities within its area of supply. A Royal Commission had reported in 1899 on the need for such controls. The board was abolished in 1974 and control transferred to the Thames Water Authority, now Thames Water.

Background

Water supply in the London area was regulated by local act and royal charters on a piecemeal basis from 1543. Through amalgamation, by 1830 there were five companies supplying water north of the Thames, and three to the south of the river. Following complaints, a Royal commission was set up in 1827 to investigate the quality of supply. The commission found that the water was of poor quality and cleanliness, and was in need of improvement. A select committee endorsed this view in 1828 and recommended that a scheme should be devised by Thomas Telford, to supply the whole metropolis with clean water. Telford reported in 1834, and despite several outbreaks of cholera, little action was taken until the Metropolis Water Act 1852 introduced regulation of the supply companies; including minimum standards of water quality for the first time. A further Royal commission reported in 1869 and recommended that the supply should be taken into public management. The Metropolis Water Act 1871 introduced further regulation, but fell short of taking the supply into...
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