At its core, the act of exploring a sewer, is a pretty disgusting affair. It comes with all the negative aspects you would expect from such an activity, faeces, urine, blood, tampons, grease, toilet roll, all the content you expel from your home or place of work on a daily basis, banishing them to a place where they are no longer your concern. What many fail to realise, or choose to simply ignore, is that several positives exist within a sewage system, be that of a historical, architectural or even photographic nature.
Its fair to say that over the years myself and others have become slightly obsessed with the London Underground. It seemed that every time we ventured into the capital we descended into the dust and grime of its transit system. Siologen, a advocate of sewer exploration, given his 14 years experience, puts it into perspective when he said he felt he’d gotten carried away with ”ARTS”, Abandoned (Underground) Rapid Transit Stations, feeling he had “lost the way”. I’d have to agree.
If you haven’t worked it out by now, i like the subterranean. Escaping the hustle & bustle above, strolling undetected beneath the sleepy metropolis through a sprawling maze of pipes and tunnels. Sewers, to me are epitome of this escape, the furthest point in which you can distance yourself from interaction within a city.
Another of Bazalgette’s red brick creations the Clapham Storm Relief serves both the Southern High Level Sewer No*1 and the Balham & Clapham Extension interceptors, carrying the flow from its overflow/infall in Clapham to its outfall in Vauxhall.
The Beverley Brook Storm Relief Overflow, a 10ft concrete diversion culvert constructed in 1934 after its younger 8ft counterpart (Beverley Brook Storm Relief Culvert, 1925) proved insufficent during severe flooding in 1931. These two, accompanied with several weirs and flow control gates now form the Beverley Brook Flood Protection Scheme.
When it rains, go in drains! When it rains, don’t go in drains! I’ve heard it both ways, and sure each has merit but it depends where you are. Draining mostly in london I’ve become complacent that 90% of the time the water level is going to stay the same. The other 10% however is when the tunnel floods and your left with very wet nipples and a bad taste in your mouth. Having said a teary eyed farewell to Italy and Brescia we ventured north to Vienna, Austria. Our target, yea you guessed it, The Third Man.