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Home Tourist Attraction Inside the UK’s cathedral of sewage – the unlikely tourist hit that fans say is stunningly beautiful

Inside the UK’s cathedral of sewage – the unlikely tourist hit that fans say is stunningly beautiful

by Staff

A VICTORIAN building that was once used to pump out London’s sewage has become an unlikely hit with holidaymakers.

Located in Abbey Wood in South East London, Crossness Pumping Station was built in 1865 in a bid to combat the horrible smells that wafted through the capital.

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Crossness Pumping Station was built in 1865 in a bid to combat the horrible smells that wafted through the capitalCredit: Peter Dazeley 2013
The Victorian pumping station is located in Abbey Wood in South East London

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The Victorian pumping station is located in Abbey Wood in South East LondonCredit: Peter Dazeley 2013
The pumping station was restored by a group of volunteers

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The pumping station was restored by a group of volunteersCredit: Alamy

When the English capital was blanketed in a horrific odour, known as The Great Stink, in 1858, MPs approved plans to build a better sewer system.

The plans saw 83 miles of sewers approved as well as three major pumping stations, including the Crossness Pumping Station.

Also known as the Cathedral of Sewage, Crossness Pumping Station was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette to be both practical and impressive.

Not only did the site feature four crucial pumping engines, but it was also home to incredibly detailed cast iron work.

After nearly 100 years in service, Crossness Pumping Station was decommissioned in the 1950s.

The building was left to rust until a band of volunteers set about restoring the site to its former glory.

In 1987, the Crossness Engines Trust, a registered charity, was established to restore the installation.

The charity was awarded £2.7million worth of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Following the multi-million-pound cash injection, a large group of dedicated enthusiasts set about restoring the Victorian site.

In addition to scrubbing up the ironwork, the volunteers also revived one of the site’s beam engines.

Following the lengthy renovation, the site opened to the public in 2016.

The Grade I listed building still houses the four original pumping engines, which are thought to be the largest remaining rotative beam engines in the world, with 52 ton flywheels and 47 ton beams.

Meanwhile, part of the building has been left unrestored to show visitors how the site looked when it was abandoned.

The site’s star attraction, the four beam engines, are located inside the beam engine house.

Other exhibits are also on display, including 19th and 20th century tools, which are housed inside the site’s workshop.

The site also has a museum, which displays things sanitary products like toilets, bed pans, and chain pulls.

A collection of small working engines is also available to view in the Valve House.

Other facilities include toilets, a cafe, and a shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs.

Since it opened, the unusual tourist attraction has received positive reviews on TripAdvisor.

One person wrote: ” A beautiful building. You can even see the pump in action with steam coming out of it!”

Another said: “The building itself is really beautiful but the steam hall is incredible.

“There were some really informative talks about the history of the sewage system in London and how the pumping station worked.”

Someone else added: “The architecture was really beautiful and you could tell a lot of love went into looking after this place.

“It wasn’t crowded and it’s clearly a bit of a hidden gem, not yet marred by masses of tourists.”

Entry into the site costs £18 for a full-paying adult, while tickets for children aged between five to 15 cost £4.

Guided tours operate every other Tuesday, with visitors encouraged to check the website for firm opening times.

Crossness Pumping Station is a 35-minute walk from Abbey Wood train station, which has direct services to major London stations like Charing Cross and Waterloo.

There are plenty of other unusual tourist attractions causing a stir among British holidaymakers, including a bizarre abandoned house.

The unassuming building has been seen on screen with the likes of Idris Elba, while it has also hosted Ralph Fiennes.

In recent years, holidaymakers have been drawn to the faded red house at 4 Princelet Street, in London’s Spitalfields.

Here are the strangest tourist attractions in the UK, including a hole in the wall and a Sainsbury’s car park tunnel.

Meanwhile, a rusty pole is one of the UK’s top tourist attractions.

The pumping station opened to the public in 2017

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The pumping station opened to the public in 2017Credit: Alamy
Crossness Pumping Station is a 35-minute walk from Abbey Wood train station

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Crossness Pumping Station is a 35-minute walk from Abbey Wood train stationCredit: Times Media Ltd
Entry tickets to the pumping station cost £18 fora full-paying adult

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Entry tickets to the pumping station cost £18 fora full-paying adultCredit: Alamy

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