Headline has acquired The Mercenary Stream by BBC journalist Nick Higham, telling the story of a centuries-long battle to bring clean water to London.
Publisher for Non-Fiction Iain MacGregor acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Mercenary Stream: London’s Water and the Making of the Modern City from Doug Young at PEW.
Higham, who spent 30 years as a BBC correspondent and for six years presented "Meet the Author" on BBC News, remarked that the history of London's water touches on the history of so many other things. He said: "Laundry and local government, steam engines and sewers, cookery and corruption, fire fighting, medicine, economic theory. The world's first modern business corporation was a London water company. The science of epidemiology, so important in the coronavirus pandemic, began with a study of cholera in London's water. And nowhere over the past 400 years has the debate around public versus private ownership of essential industries been more intense."
Much of the book was researched in the London Metropolitan Archives.
MacGregor said: "Nick will explore the extraordinary history of London’s water supply and how it has both revolutionised people’s everyday lives and pretty much invented the way the world does business today. There are several reasons why I love this, not the least of which (like the Thames itself) that it takes so many unexpected turns."
The Mercenary Stream will publish in hardback in the spring of 2022.
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