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Figure 3

A colour engraving of a shocked woman of the early 1830s looking at the microscopic life present in a sample of Thames water

The science and technology of clean water are long-standing, uncontroversial and robust.

Monster Soup, 1828

Coloured satirical engraving by William Heath (1795–1840), also known by his pseudonym Paul Pry, showing a lady discovering the quality of the Thames water. By the 1820s, public concern was growing at the increasingly polluted water supply taken from the Thames in London. In 1831 and 1832 the city experienced its first outbreaks of cholera.