Engraving; Sir Hugh Middleton's Glory. Or the first issuing of the Water into the New-River-Head, before the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Recorder and a Worthy company who stood to behold it. Engraved by George Bickham. Published London, Laurie & Whittle, 1800
The engraving recalls Sir Hugh Middleton’s (d. 1631) ambitious achievement in bringing a stream of fresh clean water to North London from springs 22 miles away. Middleton (sometimes spelt Myddleton), a Welsh goldsmith based in London, took on the work in 1609. In 1613, the New River Head reservoir in Hertfordshire, built as part of the scheme to provide water for London, was completed.
This print shows the first water flowing into the reservoir while a group of men, including the Lord Mayor of London (Middleton’s brother), look on. The whole project ruined Middleton financially as the scheme rarely made a profit. The print was engraved by George Bickman and published by Laurie & Whittle.