Time trail 10: Spring wells, Sydenham

Sydenham Wells was once a spa visited by the rich and famous. The water in the shallow wells is rich in magnesium sulphate and was compared to Epsom Salts. It has a strong and unpleasant taste and acts as a purging water – when King George III visited it is reported he was accompanied by a band to drown out the noise of his suffering! In summer the London Clay near the surface dries and shrinks to produce open cracks. Rain penetrates and reacts with the London Clay to produce the Epsom Salts.

Nearest train station: Sydenham Hill
Distance: 1.2 km (0.75 miles)

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