The hard-working Victorians who first built the reservoirs, pipes and sewers that have kept the rapidly-growing population of London watered and clean ever since the end of the 19th century are revealed in a collection of newly-restored photographs.
Impeccably-dressed men are seen wearing full suits as they stand on muddy construction sites and oversee building work to complete water wheels and London's Fortis Green reservoir in the type of major infrastructure project that British titans of industry and their employees excelled in during the 19th century.
Also in the newly released historic pictures from the 1800s and 1900s are images of the sewer network with engineers called 'flushers' descending into drains and others in bowler hats inspecting the sites.
The pumping mains outside the engine house of Staines reservoir in Surrey are also seen in one black and white snap, with the infrastructure and red brick building still standing today.
A five-year project, carried out in partnership with the City of London Corporation, has seen 19,579 glass slides and transparencies catalogued in acid-free photon envelopes and boxes with many now shared online.
The stunning images are now stored at London Metropolitan Archives in Farringdon, alongside Thames Water's extensive collections from London's former water companies, which date back to 17th century.
Newly released historical pictures have shown London's impressive water and sewage network being built by well-dressed Victorians. Pictured is a stylish crowd of men in bowler and top hats gathering along a bridge to watch water spraying out from underneath them during the opening of Chingford Reservoir in 1912
Other black and white snaps from the collection include this image of seven men, including one sporting a pocket watch and bowler hat, taking a break from their work in 1894. The pictures are stored at London Metropolitan Archives in Farringdon
The Metropolitan Water Board was founded in 1903 to bring the nine private water companies which were supplying water to London under a single public body. Pictured are men digging holes at the Walton-on-Thames Water Treatment Works in 1909
By the late eighteenth century, more than 80 percent of London's houses had piped water, making it a model for other cities around the world, reports the City of London. Although embarking on large building projects the Victorian men (pictured at an unknown location in 1894) who were tasked with improving the network still ensured they looked their best in full suits
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The Staines Reservoirs lies to the east of the King George Reservoir near Heathrow airport in Surrey. The pumping house (left now and in a black and white picture, right, with pipes yet to be connected and laid for the network) is pictured during construction in 1909
The King George V Reservoir is part of the Lee Valley Reservoir Chain that supplies London with drinking water. It is a storage reservoir and covers 420 acres, making it the largest in London. Workmen build the King George's reservoir in London in 1909
The Island Barn Reservoir was authorized by the Lambeth Water Act of 1900 and was built by Sir Robert McAlpine. The project was completed and opened in 1911 (workers are pictured with lots of blocks during the building process)