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Gutter History

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During Henry VIII's reign, the volume of lead available for house building increased due to the dissolution of the monasteries. The homes owned by the most wealthy and well related, would now have the lead guttering systems, forming a most efficient and maintenance free rainwater system. Their hoppers were frequently adorned with lead moulded coats of arms - herladic to the family that lived there, and decorative lead gargoyles. This would have been a look back to when the most stately houses had several stone gargoyles on the walls 'spitting' rain water away from the walls as a key part of the building's rainwater dispersal method. The mouldings on the hoppers and witty gargoyles would be indicative to the house owner's importance and wealth.

The cheaper homes where there was no finance available for such improvements, would still be reliant on wide brimmed roofs - or where space was tight -  boxed in timber gullies. Both could be highly efficient in taking the water away - but became so easily damaged and difficult and costly to maintain and repair, and so as a result, a large proportion of the population lived in very damp homes and frequently suffered from ailments associated to constant damp conditions.

When the industrial revolution really got going, iron gutters became more and more available and offered the design of rainwater solution we see today. By Queen Victoria's reign, most typical homes were appreciating guttering made from cast iron. Living in drier home environments meant that cases of asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia were declining among the greater population and people were duly appreciating a better quality of life. 

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