Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Though water had been piped into London since the completion of the New River and the Islington reservoir at the beginning of the century, by the 1660s the supply was intermittent, necessitating storage in domestic cisterns. As it had passed through elm pipes and lead 'quills' before reaching the house and then was allowed to stagnate, it would not have been thought a healthy or pleasant drink. Though some houses would have had domestic wells, the chances of these being contaminated by nearby cess-pits were high. Water was not, therefore, a drink of choice for the city dweller.
"Spaw" water from Holland
On 10 June 1658 (old style), Pepys's employer, George Downing, also the English ambassador to the Hague, writes to Secretary of State John Thurloe that he is sending him four dozen bottles of "Spaw water . . . the bottles were all sealed at the Spaw." He tells Thurloe that he can have more bottles if he wants. On June 25, Thurloe writes back that he'd like 100 more.
-- John Beresford, "The Godfather of Downing Street: Sir George Downing 1623-1684: An Essay in Biography," p. 94.
Are that modern water "Perrier" ou "de Vichy" ou est "aqua de energetique" [so wot's new]Aqua Gentian
'At the "Angel and Sun," in the Strand, near Strand Bridge, is to be sold every day, fresh Epsum-water, Barnet-water, and Tunbridge-water; Epsumale, and Spruce-beer'—1664.
Curious Advertisements, the Book Of Days.
The New River.
A recent BBC TV programme on UK rivers, presented by Griff Rhys Jones, showed excellent views of The New River and demonstrated how it still supplies 22.5 million gallons of water to London each day.
The programme should be available for UK viewers to see on BBC i-player for several days yet.
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