, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 143–146 | Cite as

The high cost of water

Leslie Tomory: The history of the London water industry 1580–1820. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 314pp, $54.95 HB
  • Katherine Rinne
Book Review

Seeking a non-teleological explanation for the development and expansion of London’s water industry over a period of 240 years, Dr. Tomory contends that unlike many cities in the UK and Europe, London’s water infrastructure expansion was not the inevitable outcome of eighteenth-century industrial development and manifold technological advances. Rather, in The History of the London Water Industry 15801820, he argues that although at the end of the sixteenth century London’s water system was essentially a medieval hodgepodge of small-scale independent water providers its supply network was already well developed by the first years of the eighteenth century.

Tomory demonstrates how the combined forces of population explosion, rising economic wealth, evolving legal structures, expanding consumer demand, and both imported and local technological innovations supported the industry’s phenomenal growth. He argues that although there was not any specific forethought for a new type of network,...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California College of the ArtsSan FranciscoUSA

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