Introduction: The River Pollution Dilemma
Birmingham's population had grown to around a quarter of a million, and the town was becoming the second most populous in England. Hams Hall itself was situated next to a sharp bend of the river Tame about seven miles downstream of Birmingham's sewer outlets at Saltley. Charles Bowyer Adderley had originally requested an injunction restraining Birmingham from causing the main sewer outflow to pollute and damage the Tame. The source of the Gravelly Hill complaints was the state of the acres at the Saltley works where Birmingham's parsimonious sewage treatment was being applied. The high point of the Civic Gospel movement in Birmingham was to come after Joseph Chamberlain was elected mayor for his three successive terms, declaring: In twelve months, by Gods help, the town shall not know itself. The dispute between Charles Adderley and Birmingham sewage authorities over sewage in River Tame was a protracted affair and one that remains preeminent among the river sewage pollution dilemma cases.