The Statute of Cambridge reinforced the mayor and bailiffs' responsiblity for street sanitation.
In 1544 the town got an Act of Parliament passed to improve street paving. Again all householders were responsible for the area in front of their property but there were proper penalties and supervision arrangements, including the Vice-Chancellor, mayor and bailiffs. This remained in force for nearly 250 years.
An Act for the better paving, lighting and cleansing of the streets was obtained in 1788 after much effort and immediately the first gas lamps were set up and the first street paved with cobbles - Petty Cury. The stream down the middle of Trumpington Street was diverted into channels on either side (which still exist). The University had to provide two-fifths of the cost and then an interest-free loan of £1,500 in 1792. The Pavement Commission (later Improvement Commission) lasted 100 years.
In the mid-1500s the town was filling up with labourers hoping for even the low-paid work available with the University. Slums were developing, with townsmen converting all available property without regard to recent building regulations. The carrier Thomas Hobson was one such. In 1628 he endowed a workhouse for the poor and rogues - the Spinning House. It later became the University's prison for prostitutes. After the University gave up the right to imprison them in 1894, it was demolished, along with the adjacent town gaol or tollbooth, and in 1901 new Police and Fire stations were built there. A new town gaol had been built on Donkey's Common in 1827-8.
The 1901-c1964 Police Station, now City Council offices ->
An outbreak of plague in 1630 showed the state of poverty in the town. The VC, Dr. Butts and the mayor, John Sherwood, organised the care and feeding of the poor. Pesthouses for isolating the infected were built on Butt's Green . This is an example of the University's long-standing policy of assisting the town's poor as an act of charity, not because of any compulsion by law. [Support for Wintercomfort is a more recent example.] In the plague of 1666 the pesthouses were erected on Coldham Common.
In 1574 Dr. Andrew Perne, Vice-Chancellor, suggested that a stream be diverted from Nine Wells near Shelford through the town and the King's Ditch to relieve the "corrupt air". Dr. Perne's scheme was implemented in 1610 as the New River. It was a joint enterprise of Town and Gown - Thomas Hobson was just one of the group who planned and carried out the scheme. It was dug from Vicar's Brook near Long Road to the conduit head at the end of Lensfield Road, where branches supplied the fountain in the Market Place, ponds in Christ's and Emmanuel grounds and Pembroke. The Market fountain, known as Hobson's Conduit, is now at the Lensfield Road conduit head.
The Cambridge Waterworks Company was formed in 1853 by the Provost of King's and the Master of Trinity.
The Roman Bath Co. opened its ornate premises in Jesus Lane in 1863. The bath was 56 feet by 22 feet, with water at 62 degrees F. It wasn't successful and was leased to the Pitt Club by the end of the year.
A new piped water supply from wells at Fulbourn was started in 1891 but in 1907 it was found to be contaminated by sewage from the Asylum.
These days the Cambridge Water Company's supply is still based on wells in Fulbourn.
Gas production ceased on the Riverside site in 1969. North Sea gas was introduced in Cambridge as a priority due to the number of student suicides (North Sea gas being far safer). The remaining gas holder was reputed to be the largest in East Anglia. The site is due to be redeveloped.