Our history

Our history dates back to the 1600s with the creation of the New River.

It features some pretty impressive engineering projects, record-breaking investment, UK firsts and water industry-leading initiatives.

1600-1800 - Development of supplies for London

In the early 1600s the New River was created to meet rising demand for water in London. This was a 40-mile channel which carried water from springs in Hertfordshire to Islington in North London.

Read more about the development of London's supplies

1800-1900 - The Great Stink

In 1858 the stench of sewage from the River Thames was so bad that MP's suspended Parliament. The period is referred to as 'The Great Stink'.

Read more about the Great Stink

1989-1995 - Investment in infrastructure

Since privatisation, Thames Water has increased spending on services and infrastructure to improve the quality and reliability of drinking water - leading to the construction of the London Ring Main.

Read more about our investment in infrastructure

1995-2001 - International expansion

In 1995, Thames Water expanded internationally, becoming the world's third largest water company. International customers benefited from the company's expertise, while service continued to improve in the UK as well.

Read more about our international expansion

2001-2006 - Joining the RWE Group

In 2001 Thames Water was acquired by multi-utility, RWE. Thames Water became RWE's Water Division, taking control of its water and wastewater operations worldwide, and RWE's existing water operations in Germany and Eastern Europe.

Read more about joining the RWE Group

December 2006 - Thames Water acquired by Kemble Water Limited

Thames Water was acquired by Kemble Water Limited, a consortium of institutional investors managed by the Macquarie Capital Funds (Europe) Limited, on 1 December 2006.

Read more about Kemble Water Limited

March 2007 - London Tideway Tunnels approved

The Government approved plans for the London Tideway Tunnels in March 2007 to reduce the impacts of discharges of untreated sewage into the River Thames and its tributary, the River Lee.

Read more about the London Tideway Tunnels

July 2007 - London Ring Main extensions commence

Construction to extend the London Ring Main started, with works commencing at Honor Oak to construct the first of four shafts. From May 2008 tunnelling will commence to construct two tunnels on both sides of the Thames.

Read more about our Ring Main extensions

September 2007 - Cleaning up the River Thames

Thames Water officially unveiled two skimmer vessels - the first of their kind - as an interim measure to improve the environmental and aesthetic quality of the River Thames prior to the completion of the London Tideway Tunnels.

Read more about the skimmer vessels

December 2007 - Tap water rated top for taste

Experts rated Thames' tap water above more than 20 bottled brands in a 'blind' taste test organised by wine magazine, Decanter.

Read more about Decanter's taste test

December 2007 - New technology to tackle leakage

Leakfrog - a leakage detection device invented by Thames Water boffins - was launched to help reduce customer leakage. The gadget will boost our programme of leakage reduction, by detecting the amount of water escaping from customers' pipes - which currently accounts for a quarter of all water lost in our supply area.

Read more about Leakfrog

February 2008 - London On Tap campaign

Thames Water teamed up with the Mayor of London to launch London On Tap. The aim of the campaign is to remove the stigma attached when ordering tap water in London's bars and restaurants, while also promoting the excellent quality of tap water.

Read more about London On Tap

April 2009 - Road plating a UK first

We became the first UK utility to use high-strength, glass-reinforced plastic road plates to bridge open street excavations in a bid to combat traffic jams.

Read more about the plating scheme

November 2009 - 20 years since privatisation

Twenty years and £10bn of investment later, Thames Water's operational performance is better than ever.

Read more about the past 20 years

March 2010 - Martin Baggs appointed Chief Executive Officer

Martin Baggs was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Thames Water in March 2010, after serving as Interim CEO since December 2009.

Read more about Martin Baggs' appointment

October 2010 - Sewage project sends first ever renewable gas to grid

Our project at Didcot Sewage Treatment Works in Oxfordshire, enabled customers to cook and heat their homes with renewable gas - produced from human waste - for the first time.

Read more about our gas to grid project