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One of the enduring mysteries of British culture! I reckon this is the real reason: “I think the real reason why we Brits hang on to our single taps is because as a nation we are prepared to tolerate minor inconveniences if the alternatives are a) more expensive and b) involve changing a familiar system which works perfectly well.”
I love the place! 🙂 But NOT the single taps!


So why do most British homes have separate hot and cold taps (see December post)? (Note for transatlantic readers, tap = faucet!)

Reasons of history:

A high proportion of British housing stock dates to the 19th and early 20th century, before efficient mixer taps and modern valves were available. Some of our housing is much older than that – one of the consequences of living in a part of the world which has few earthquakes (see August post). When interior plumbing was introduced it would have begun with a simple system piping cold water straight from the mains into the kitchen.  Hot water was later added separately, hence a dual system.

Reasons of health and hygiene:

Early plumbing systems used pipes of lead, so while cold water from a lead pipe may be potable, you wouldn’t want to drink hot water that has come through a lead pipe…

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