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Most Googled: why does London have hard water?

Flo Wales Bonner

You ask, we answer: tackling the most popular Google searches about London.

The H2O that pours forth from Londoners’ taps is essentially the Phil Mitchell of water: it’s well hard. According to David Reynolds, water quality manager at Thames Water, ‘hardness is determined by the levels of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium compounds in your water’. So why does London’s have such high levels? The answer: geography, and a pinch of geology.

Though we like to claim it solely as our own, the Thames actually flows through a few other places (the scandal!) before it reaches London. The water that passes through Oxford and Reading, which are built on chalk and limestone, picks up minerals along the way and carries them down to London – hence our hard water. Yes, it means you have to spend hours scrubbing limescale off your bath and may (according to Reynolds) ‘reduce detergent efficiency’. But if you ask us, it tastes far better than that soft nonsense you get elsewhere in the country.

And while we’re at it: how do London postcodes work?

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