Submitted by Former HETI Vice President Jennifer Dixon Clegg:

In 1894 just as my Grandfather was starting his career in The City of London, horse manure was headline news!

In London, New York and other cities around the world at that time there were so many horses – 50,000 horses in London, 100,000 in New York – that The Times newspaper of 1894 predicted… “In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure.” Imagine instead then my Grandfather reading a different story, one that predicted that in 50 years horses would be a rare sight in London…that would have been unthinkable, impossible! 

Nineteenth century cities were dependent on horses but disposing of their manure had become a crisis issue, even topping the agenda at the world’s first international urban planning conference in New York. There seemed to be no solution until the genius of Henry Ford meant that by 1912, horses worldwide had been replaced by cars and buses.

The laughable unwritten story of 1894 – the absence of horses from city streets – has become the real issue.

…Problems often lie in solutions