Abbey Mills Pumping Station

Brendan Finucane very kindly arranged for us to have a private tour of Abbey Mills Pumping Station, the so-called ‘Cathedral of Sewage’ which stands proud in the valley of the river Lea on the site of a monastic water mill.   It’s an amazing building, with so much decorative care and Byzantine and Gothic detail lavished on Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s powerhouse of engineering.   Inside is full of hand dials and maps of London’s sewers and Piranesian vistas down to the big pipes which transport London’s sewage out to Beckton, all of it constructed after the Great Stink of 1858.

This is the grand entrance:-

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Details of the decorative carving:-

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The great interior:-

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The 1930s pumps:-

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The view down below:-

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The map of London’s sewers:-

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The dials:-

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And, last, the tool kit:-

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9 thoughts on “Abbey Mills Pumping Station

  1. pbmum says:

    We’d probably call it the Lower Lea, although some people might call it Three Mills as it is part of the Three Mills Conservation area.

    It may be urban myth but word is that since the DLR station has opened nearby with the name Abbey Road, it has become a site of pilgrimage for bewildered tourists expecting to be able to take photos at a less than pedestrian crossing!

    Joan

  2. Brendan Finucane QC says:

    Dear Charles

    Thanks for the mention in despatches ! The photos are a happy memory of our visit. Glad to see too that it spawned such interesting responses .

    Have a Very Happy Christmas and New Year!

    All the very best

    Brendan

  3. Courtney Cooke says:

    Hello Charles, the Friends will be visiting Crossness Pumping Station in May, which I hope should be similarly fascinating.

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