HC Deb 25 May 1827 vol 17 cc1026-8

Sir Francis Burdett presented the following Petition, and gave notice that he would, shortly after the recess, call the attention of the House to the subject:—

"The humble petition of the undersigned inhabitants of the Western portion of the Metropolis, showeth;

"That your petitioners beg leave to submit to your honourable House, that the principle of the acts of parliament, under which the several companies supplying the metropolis with water were instituted, was to encourage competition; seeing that it is only from competition that a perfect security can be had for a good, a cheap, and a plentiful supply.

"That, nevertheless, by an arrangement entered into, about the year one thousand eight hundred and seventeen, between the several companies supplying the metropolis with water, all competition was put an end to, and a monopoly of this necessary of life virtually established.

"That the water taken up from the river Thames, at Chelsea, for the use of the inhabitants of the western portion of the metropolis, being charged with the contents of the great common-sewers, the drainings from dung-hills and lay-stalls, the refuse of hospitals, slaughter-houses, colour, lead, and soap-works, drug-mills, and manufactories, and with all sorts of decomposed animal and vegetable substances, rendering the said water offensive, and destructive to health, ought no longer to be taken up by any of the water companies from so foul a source.

"That the Grand Junction Water-works Company, having engaged to supply their customers with water of the purest and most wholesome quality, to be drawn from the rivers Colne and Brent, and from an immense reservoir of nearly one hundred acres, fed by the streams of the vale of Ruislip, have, nevertheless, since the month of September 1820, drawn their supply from the Thames, at the foot of Chelsea Hospital, and nearly adjoining to the mouth of the Great Ranelagh common sewer.

"That the water supplied by the Grand Junction Company, to more than seven thousand families, has been pronounced, by professional men of the first eminence, to be a filthy fluid, loaded with decayed vegetable matter and other substances equally deleterious to health, and unfit for domestic purposes.

"That the Grand Junction Company, having promised to supply their customers with water, at a comparatively small charge, have, nevertheless, exacted an increased rate, equivalent, in no case, to less than fifty per cent, and extending, in most instances, to ninety and a hundred per cent; and that they obtained, in May last, the sanction of the legislature to a new Table of Rates, by which an addition of from fifty to three hundred per cent, may be levied on their customers.

"That your Petitioners are convinced, that if an inquiry be instituted by your honourable House, the several allegations of this petition will be satisfactorily established, and that means will be discovered for placing the supply of water to the western portion of the metropolis on a sure and lasting foundation.

"Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray, that your honourable House will forthwith cause an inquiry to be made before a committee of your honourable House. And your Petitioners will ever pray."