Public drinking fountains at the British Museum

#Picture Number BU105

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Victorian illustration to download showing visitors examining the public drinking fountains outside the entrance to the British Museum – they were installed in 1860. The fountains were designed by the architect Sydney Smirke (1797-1877), who had also designed the circular Reading Room of the Museum, completed in 1857. (His brother Robert Smirke was the architect for the main block and façade of the Museum). During the Victorian age the importance of a clean water supply for public health became evident. It was in 1854 that Dr John Snow (1813-58) showed that cholera was a water-borne disease.