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Perilous Pond

Brewer's Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable
Russ Willey

Perilous Pond 

A large, deep and dangerous pond in Moorfields that augmented London's water supply before the arrival of the New River. Also known as the Parlous Pond, it was the scene of many drownings, especially of wintertime skaters who fell through the ice. In 1743 local jeweller William Kemp converted it into the open-air Peerless Pool, which was said to have been ‘the completest swimming bath in the whole world’. It was 170 feet (52m) long, with a marble entrance pavilion and an adjacent fish pond for anglers. An embankment, plentiful trees and shrubbery and a high wall protected the modesty of the ‘gentlemen lovers of swimming and bathing’. It was filled in and built over in 1869. Deryn Lake's novel Death in the Peerless Pool (1999) is a Georgian detective story featuring his recurring character John Rawlings, apothecary and amateur sleuth, and Sir John Fielding, the blind beak of Bow Street.