Victorian London was a smoggypool of disease and grime, with a bit of Dickens on the side.Even in the 21st century, the city and her river arent exactly known for their cleanliness. Despite its history of filth, a scientific investigation has shown that a 900-year-old spring beneath a central London street has drinkable water.
The spring is located in the basement ofAustralia House. The 100-year-old building a stones throw from the River Thames, along the Strand in central London isthe United Kingdoms diplomatic and political centerfor Australia. Itsinterior has evenbeenused as the set for Gringotts Bank in the “Harry Potter” films.
Alexander Downer, Australian high commissioner to Britain and former foreign minister, toldABC Newsthat the well was used throughout the late Middle Ages. Citing sources from amonk who described the water from it as sweet, wholesome and clear, Downer said its likely the watersource was seen as a holy well in times gone by.
Around 900 years later, Latis Scientifics laboratorytested the water forpotentially hazardousmicrobesincludingE. coli, Enterococci, Clostridium perfringensand the total number of living organisms in a sample, ortotal viable count. After testing for numerous lurgies, theydeclared that the water was indeed fit for human consumption.
These wells were of great significance, particularly back in the middle ages,”Downer toldABC News.They were used for ceremonial purposes and plays were performed around the well. And as a result of that, this part of London evolved as an area where theatres were built.
Main image credit:Tom Flemming/Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0.
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