"As if she were a part of the refuse it had cast out"

During the 1800s, the River Thames was visibly polluted. This was in part due to the waste generated in large quantities by the Industrial Revolution, compounded by an undeveloped sewer system. At times the Thames produced an unbearable stench.

Charles Dickens memorably recorded the filthy state of the river in Our Mutual Friend (1864 -1865).