22 MAY 1993, Page 13

One hundred years ago

To all appearance, the drought has bro- ken up. In the South of England it has been one of the longest on record, hav- ing lasted some seventy-eight days, i.e., two months and a half. The result has been to add a month to the summer and to virtually destroy the hay-crop; the grass has hardly grown, and the farmers have been forced to buy food for their stock. Mr. Symons, the great authority on rainfall, writing in the Times of Friday, points out that the most serious partial droughts (i.e., droughts tempered only by neglectable showers) of the century were those of 1840, which lasted 93 days; of 1844, which lasted 105 days; and of 1852, which lasted 88 days. In places where the water-supply is naturally short, the distress and difficulty caused by having to "haul" water has been very great. Under these circumstances, it is inter- esting to note an important find of water in Windsor Forest, and within what is geologically "the London Basin." After boring for 1,234 ft., water was found, and rose 7 ft. above the sur- face, though the site is on a hill 223 ft. above the sea-level. The underground reservoir thus tapped is in the lower greensand. If similar conditions prevail in other parts of the London basin, the London water question may have been advanced a long step. The Spectator 20 May 1893