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Abbey Mills

The recording studio in Abbey Lane is well known thanks to the Beatles and more recently One Direction. What is perhaps not as well known is the Abbey Mills sewage pump station. Located near the studio of the same name, the pump station was built in extravagant Victorian style in 1865. Abbey Mills pump station 01 The pump station lifted accumulated sewage 40 feet, enough to send it to the Thames, downstream of London.  Before the pump station was built, the changing tidal level of the Thames River would flush sewage back into streets.  Up until the mid 1800's, London sewage was drained straight to the Thames.  There is nothing like an outbreak of cholera and a heat wave induced stench to get action from politicians.  In record time large amounts of public purse were diverted to the construction of sewers.  The workmanship of the tunnels and shafts have stood the test of time.  Much of the original network is in use today.
Abbey Mills pump station - interior 03

Inside the pump station - ornate and splendid

Initially Abbey Mills was a coal powered pump station.  There were 8 steam driven pump sets with a combined delivery of 28 kilolitres per minute - a substantial flow even by today's standards.  A more modern facility was built in the 1970's although Abbey Mills is still used for stand-by purposes. Not sure what Rudyard Kipling would have said about Abbey Mills - maybe he popped in for a visit, maybe not.  If only we knew.
Kipling in 1891

Kipling in 1891, poor sighted and perspicacious


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