Creating the city
The ‘mad intemperance ... of building’
in The birth of modern London
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The system by which developers improved the value of their land through building is well known. The advantages of the building lease system were many. For a start, as J.R. Ward has observed in a study of late eighteenth-century Bristol, it was a system which allowed finance to operate within a fragmented industrial structure. The building lease system was perfectly adapted to both the labour and the financial conditions of the period. The building of sewage and drainage systems seems generally to have been undertaken by developers, while the matter of water supply was the responsibility of each individual household. Some figures are available from the cases of how much a house cost to build. The prices given for houses in the City are very high. James Burkin's house, which was commissioned by him and described as a mansion house, cost the princely sum of £1,601.

The birth of modern London

The development and design of the city 1660–1720

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