Seething Wells Water - Surbiton’s Hidden Heritage







Anyone who has walked or driven along the Portsmouth Road, Seething Wells in Surbiton and past the old water works and reservoirs will have probably done so without realising the importance of these sites in the story of public health in Great Britain and the defeat of Cholera in this country and abroad.

A great deal of this story is visible to the naked eye, the water beds, engine houses and coal stores. There is also much that lies beneath our feet. Massive Victorian tunnels and pipes still exist under the ground, created to allow barges to deliver coal to pumping stations via rail. Massive pipes to take water from the ground breaking filter beds and more pipes to take this precious clean water into London.

These are no ordinary waterworks - these are the waterworks that allowed Dr John Snow to prove that Cholera was ‘waterborne’ and put an end to the outbreaks of the disease that haunted towns and cities.

During 2011 and early 2012 a group of local volunteers worked to find out about the story of Seething Wells Water, what it was, who worked there, why it is there and how it helped defeat King Cholera.  Our website, which is growing, will tell you this story, and show you some of the original documents we used to find it.

We still want to find out more. We want to find people in our community who are interested in the heritage that sits on our doorsteps and would like to help investigate all aspects of this remarkable site and its role in developing public health in this country.

If you want to find out more or get involved then email

The Ordnance Atlas of Suburban London in 1888 shows the location of the Lambeth Waterworks Company, thirty-six years after it relocated the intake in 1852 to supply cleaner River Thames water to the people of London. 

click here for TOUR DATES and DETAILS 
To see a timeline of the events relating to this
project click on this boxTimelines.html
photograph by Tangle Photography