Flowing waters into Islington
Wenceslaus Hollar's 1665 depiction of 'The Waterhouse' shows how water was supplied to Islington in the mid-17th century. The New River and reservoir were constructed in 1609-13 to carry fresh water supplied from the springs of the River Lea near Ware in Hertfordshire to London.
What was the Waterhouse?
The Waterhouse was built in 1614. It was a curious brick tower with a steep pyramid-shaped roof. Water from the New River passed through the cistern and was distributed to elm pipes which led down to the city streets. The tower also housed the engineer who looked after the waterhouse machinery. The building existed until 1913 when the Metropolitan Water Board took over the New River Company and rebuilt the site.
The New River
The New River's course through Islington originally ran from Eel Pie House in Stoke Newington, south through Canonbury and into Clerkenwell. It finished at the New River Head at Finsbury.
Museum number 29.54/2