Happy Drains Blog

A Quick History of the UK’s Drainage System

It’s fair to say that the UK’s drainage system has come a very long way in terms of how we manage our health and waste. They are luxuries taken for granted in modern life; flushing a toilet, turning on a tap or running a shower. We often do all of these things without thinking about where the water is actually coming from or going to. This hasn’t always been the case, and only more recently has an effective operational draining system been in use in the UK.

  1. Aqueducts

Plumbing systems date back as far as the early 7th century, though they were nothing like what we use today. Ancient drains named Aqueducts provided an efficient way of transporting drinking water and draining away wastewater through a complex system. The sole purpose of aqueducts was to supply cities and agricultural land with water. Aqueducts made use of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels and support structures in order to move water by gravity from the source to the point of distribution.

  1. Toilets

The first flushing toilet was invented way back in the 16th century. A man named Sir John Harrington created the innovative flushing toilet design, though the bowl model that we all use today took another 200 years to be developed.

  1. Materials

The types of materials we use within our drainage systems have also changed over the years. Pipes and drains used to be made with materials that were readily available during ancient times, like clay, stone and wood. It’s fair to say that these didn’t hold up too well. Most materials are easily obtainable in modern times, meaning our drains and pipes are made with more hard-wearing materials like copper, brass and plastic.

In the Victorian era, people began to realise that using smooth materials for the inner lining of pipes and sewers meant water would flow more easily. We still use this technique today!

  1. London Sewage

In Victorian times, the River Thames was considered an open sewer. This contributed highly to the spread of diseases and early deaths. In 1958 (yes, that soon) action was taken in order to modernise the sewage system. A huge development then took place all over the United Kingdom, paving the way for a fully functioning sewer network that we still use today!

Here at Happy Drains, we use the most reliable and up to date service to ensure your drains and pipes are running to the best of their abilities. If you’d like to find out more information, you can get in touch with a member of the team by visiting our contact page or by giving us a call on 0800 849 8099.