Worship Street, London, EC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Curiosities of London Exhibiting the Most Rare and Remarkable Objects of Interest in the Metropolis; with Nearly Sixty Years’ Personal Recollections - John Timbs, 1867:
A fine artificial stream, yielding almost half the water-supply of London, or nearly the whole of the City, and a large portion of the metropolis northward of the Thames. The New River rises from Chadwell Springs, and springs at Amwell, between Hertford and Ware, 21 miles form London, and is fed by the river Lea and wells sunk in the chalk.
The New River was projected by Hugh Myddelton, a native of Denbigh, and “citizen and goldsmith,” who proposed to the City to bring to London a supply of water at his own cost. His offer was accepted; and April 20, 1608, was commenced the work, with very imperfect mechanical resources. Myddelton embarked the whole of his fortune in the undertaking; the original number of shares was only 36; the labourers received half-a-crown a day. [...].
The river was constructed for about 17,000l., and Myddelton himself lived long enough to derive a large profit from its financial prosperity. King James, by the way, tumbled into it; and when he was pulled out “there came much water out of his mouth and body;” and much choler thereupon when he afterwards encountered Myddelton, and complained of his omitting to put up a fence.
[Behind the wooden fence in the photograph above can be seen part of the iron bridge that carrys Worship Street over the railway lines into and out of Liverpool Street Station. R.D.]