Thursday 4 July 2013

The Lady Mayoress and the Urinal

The Mansion House,
Aug 2d 1883

To the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London,


I have received with the greatest possible surprise and regret a letter from your Clerk dated yesterday informing me that that your Committee are unable to find a more suitable site for the Urinal I have so much reason to complain of, and further, stating that in their opinion, the stench in the houses "arises from internal defects rather than from anything without". On the latter opinion the Committee "are undoubtedly mistaken from indisputable facts that come under the cognisance of those who live in the house; and onwhich point we can form a more correct opinion than any person visiting the house for a few moments.

I have only now again had painful evidence of the consequence of this dreadful nuisance and am sure you will be sorry to hear that the Lady Mayoress last night was taken very seriously ill, even so as to cause most intense anxiety as to the result and I enclose for yoru information a certificate from Dr. Herman Werber of Grosvenor Street, whose assistance I called on wherein he states that her Ladyship's illness was partly caused by the smell from the Urinal.

If the Committee had honored me by advising me of their visit I am quite sure I could point out half a dozen places equally convenient for the public, without inflicting a nuisance on any one. I can, in conclusion, only express my deep regret that this cruel nuisance from which we have all suffered, and which has now on high Medical Authority been pronounced to be a cause of an illness which might have resulted in fatal consequences should still be regarded by the as a Thing "for which they are unable to find a more suitable site" and I earnestly pray that some prompt action may yet be taken in respesct of it.

I have the honor &c.

E. Knight,
Lord Mayor

The Mansion House
Augt 1st 1883

Having been calledf this evening to attend The Lady Mayoress I was struck by the bad smells in the sitting and Bed Rooms and I am of opinion that the ilness has been partly caused by the smell from the public Urinal under the window.

Herman Weber.

[the Sewer Commissioners initially recommended more water and cleaning for the urinal; but it would be removed the following year]

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