Little Marauders (1872)
The London sewerage system
During the early 19th century the River Thames was an open sewer, with disastrous consequences for public health in London, including numerous cholera epidemics. Proposals to modernise the sewerage system had been made during 1856, but were neglected due to lack of funds. However, after The Great Stink of 1858, Parliament realised the urgency of the problem and resolved to create a modern sewerage system.
Joseph Bazalgette, a civil engineer and Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works, was given responsibility for the work. He designed an extensive underground sewerage system that diverted waste to the Thames Estuary, downstream of the main centre of population. Six main interceptory sewers, totalling almost 100 miles (160 km) in length, were constructed, some incorporating stretches of London’s ‘lost’ rivers.
Image: “The Octagon”, Crossness Pumping Station (opened 1865), architect Charles H. Driver
Poster of Fantomas (1947)