The Inventive Victorian

Photo copyright: A Mixed Bag

Photo copyright: A Mixed Bag

The smell was terrible, Mary had known things would be hard when she married Thomas. But then they moved into Albert St with its open sewer. Every obnoxious thing possible seemed to use the sewer to reach the stinking river at the end of the street. Blood and gore from the slaughterhouse mixed with tannery waste, whilst each morning buckets of human excreter were added to the mixture. While opposite her front door a five foot high mountain of manure was topped up when the weekly cattle market had run its course.

Thomas had been born in the town, Mary was different. The daughter of a disgraced catholic family which had fallen into poverty because of their faith. She had once been minor nobility. Thomas knew how much she loved him, he worked hard to ensure they had enough food and fuel. Today as he unblocked the gap in the wall which allowed the sewer to empty into the river, he had a eureka moment. The next day he visited his brother who worked in the towns foundry. Thomas with his his brother help, designed and built a whole raft of drain covers.


This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. JS Brand

    A good answer to the question, “What did the Victorians do for us?”. Lovely story Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you JS the Victorians certainly took charge of cleaning up their environment

  2. Iain Kelly

    Nicely done Michael – we can all be grateful to those that invented and built the sewers and drainage systems!

  3. James

    Definitely felt both disgusting and historic.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thanks James

  4. ceayr

    Cleverly done, Michael, by you and Thomas!

    1. Michael Humphris

      There were a lot of clever Victorians

  5. athling2001

    What a depressing place to live. At least, he is trying to make things better for her. Well done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      The story is quite close to fact, based on Skipton in the early 1800 hundreds, some of the houses still exist! They sell well!

  6. Sunday Fiction

    Very clever guy. Good story. Did you base this on the person who did invent the sewer cover or is it a random name?

    1. Michael Humphris

      The names are quite random I am afraid, but the rest of the story is based on historical fact.

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