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Sir Hugh Myddelton - London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 32.144 W 000° 06.218
30U E 700868 N 5713379
Quick Description: This statue, to Sir Hugh Myddelton, stands in the angle formed by Islington Green and Upper Street in the hear of Islington. The base of the statue is adorned by two (not working) fountains that nicely link Sir Hugh and London's fresh water supply.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 12/28/2012 8:43:42 AM
Waymark Code: WMG0D4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 2

Long Description:

This slightly larger than life size statue of Sir Hugh Myddelton is carved from stone and stands atop a granite plinth. The plinth staon a further stone base that, in addition to the plinth, has a carved figure sat on ach side overlooking two fountains. The base of that statue stands approximately three metres above the ground and the top of the stone base about one metre above the ground.

The plinth is still in good condition but the stone of the statue and base has been affected by weathering and pollution caused by the nearby traffic.

The statue shows Sir Hugh standing and he is seen wearing robes and garb of the 16th century. He is bare headed and his gaze is slightly to the right and down Upper Street towards the Cit of London.

The front of the plinth carries the inscription in gold:

Sir Hugh
B. 1555 D. 1631

The rear of the plinth carries an inscripion that reads:

The statue
presented by
Sir Samuel Morton Peto
Bart, MP.
pedestal and fountains
contributed by
voluntary subscription
aided by
a grant from the vestry
of Islington.

The Islington People webiste[visit link] tells us:

"Thanks to its hilltop location. Islington is ideally situated to supply large amounts of water to the City of London, and has done so throughout its history. This was originally achieved by piping water through wooden pipes from natural springs located at Sadlers Wells, London Spa and Clerkenwell.

During the 17th Century, however, these sources were no longer adequate to supply water to the growing population, and a new solution was needed. Enter Sir Hugh (1560 – 1631), who dreamed up an ambitious solution to bring in clean drinking water from the River Lea at Hertfordshire to North London, finishing at a termination point dubbed the New

River Head in present day Finsbury. This became known as the 'New River Project'.

Originally running completely above ground, the New River was a controversial and ambitious project at the time of its devising. It relied on gravity to convey the water southwards into London, on terrain that dropped only five inches per mile. It met with considerable opposition from landowners who worried that it would devalue their farmland, but was strongly supported by the King James I, and opponents were eventually paid off with generous handouts of 50% of the river's profits.

The resulting New River, which is now mostly covered over and runs just East of Upper Street, was opened in 1613 and continues to be an important water source for Londoners even today. So next time you look up at the statue of Hugh Myddelton, you might want to thank him for providing 8% of your water!

For those interested in learning more about the New River, several walks have been devised, following the path of the river from Islington to Hertford. The Ramblers' Association have more information and a free guide."

URL of the statue: [Web Link]

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