The First Public Drinking Fountain: A Historic Stop on London Taxi Tours

The First Public Drinking Fountain London

“Title: “The First Public Drinking Fountain in London: A Historical Journey”

Introduction: The Iconic Symbol of London

In the dazzling tapestry of London life, the first public drinking fountain stands out as a beacon of progress, social reform, and philanthropy. Its establishment in 1859 stands as testament to the city’s commitment to its citizens’ well-being. Today, this iconic symbol draws visitors interested in reliving history on the London Magical Mystery Tour.

Public Drinking Fountain: A Solution for a Graver Problem

Prior to 1859, access to clean drinking water in London was monopolized by private water companies, leading to an insufficient and often unsanitary supply. However, the cholera outbreak of 1854, traced to the Broad Street Cholera Pump, rallied public opinion and led to the establishment of The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.

The Birth of the First Public Drinking Fountain

Prompted by the dire need for regulation and availability of public drinking water in London, philanthropist Samuel Gurney answered the call. He built the first public drinking fountain on Holborn Hill in 1859. The catch? Every fountain sponsored by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association had to ensure the “perfect purity and coldness of the water.”

Cleverly incorporated into the gates of St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church, the simple granite basin was an instant success, attracting as many as 7,000 visitors daily. This success inspired the rise of many more fountains, with as many as 85 cropping up in six years.

The Evolution of the Drinking Fountain

Originally, the Gurney fountain had two cups chained for common use, a norm of that time. Over the years, the design of the fountains evolved, showcasing elaborate wells designed by leading architects. This change marked the beginnings of the ornate public drinking fountains we see today.

In 1867, the original fountain was moved due to the construction of the Holborn Viaduct, but it was later reinstated in 1913 at the same location, where it still stands, offering a sip of history.

First Public Drinking Fountain: A Significant Attraction Today

Today, the first public drinking fountain remains a significant landmark on London Sightseeing Taxi Tours. It serves as a stark reminder of a bygone era, offering a unique glimpse into the measures taken to improve public hygiene during a critical period in London’s history.

This fountain, now more than a century old, stands proudly as a tribute to those who fought for the welfare of the public and to those who continue to uphold this spirit today. It’s more than just a drinking fountain – it’s a testament to the city’s enduring commitment to its citizens, underscoring the perfect blend of the historic and contemporary that makes London the city it is today.

Experience London with Our Sightseeing Tours

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a Potterhead, or a rock ‘n roll fan, we’ve curated diverse and immersive taxi tours to cater to all tastes. Experience the best of London in the comfort of our iconic black cabs, taking you through layers of the city’s rich history and culture.

Come, journey with us as we explore the fascinating tale of the first public drinking fountain, brought to life on our enlightening tour of London. Step back in time and sip from the rich well of history with London Sightseeing Taxi Tours.”

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