Rivers Pollution Prevention Act 1876

R. Angus Smith (1817-1884), Rivers Pollution Prevention Act, 1876. Second Report to the Local Government Board (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1884). Illustrated with woodburytypes. Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process.

The Scottish environmental scientist Dr. Robert Angus Smith (1817-1884) studied air and water pollution, coining the term “acid rain” in 1852. After working at the chemical laboratory at the Royal Manchester Institution, Smith was named the first Alkali Inspectorate by the Alkali Act of 1863. He went on to publish numerous texts on the control of urban pollution, most notably Air and Rain. The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology (London: Longmans, Green, and co., 1872). Recap 85083.863

In 1876, an Act of Parliament was passed to attempt to control London’s water pollution. Smith was appointed the inspector to uphold the new laws. His methods for determining the number of microbes in water led to significant development in environmental science and law.

Seven mounted woodburytypes of Smith’s experiments were used to illustrate the 1884 second edition of Smith’s report to the government board. The prints were made by Vincent Robert Alfred Brooks (1814-1885) a lithographer who purchased the patent for Woodbury’s photo-relief process in 1879 and specialize in this method of book illustration through the turn-of-the-century.