Crossness Pumping Station – Bazalgette’s Cathedral of Sewage

In the mid-19th century, London had an unpleasant problem. An event known as “The Great Stink” brought a ghastly odor to all and even death to the most unfortunate.

The heart that pumped this engineering marvel became known as “the Cathedral of Sewage,” the Crossness Pumping Station.

But necessity is the mother of invention. From this foul situation, one of London’s greatest Victorian heroes came up with an engineering solution that saved lives and still serves us today – the magnificent feat of infrastructure that is the London sewerage system.

Read more

The Hunt for the Original Bakewell Pudding

Thanks to its eponymous dessert, the Peakland town of Bakewell punches above its weight in terms of name recognition. However, it is the Bakewell Pudding that the town owes it success to – not the ‘tarted up’ variant made famous by Mr Kipling in the 1960s.

The pudding consists of a flaky pastry base covered with a layer of sieved jam and topped with a filling made of egg and almond paste. Culinary tourists still flock to Bakewell to try the local delicacy. Visitors on the hunt for this 19th century treat expect a certain archaism, which the small market town is more than happy to provide.

However, bubbling beneath its quaint exterior is a bitter dispute. Three shops, situated within 100 metres of each other, all claim that they alone have the original recipe for the Bakewell Pudding.

Read more

Chanctonbury Ring

Ancient covens, the Devil’s homemade soup and an ethereal Julius Caesar – when it comes to Sussex folklore few places have as many associated legends as Chanctonbury Ring.

Since the Bronze Age this curious earthwork has held great significance to both Sussex natives and invaders from distant lands. Risking the wrath of ancient spirits, Odd Days Out has been to investigate why, to this day, legends and rumours persist around the area.

Read more

The New River

The two most important things to know about the new river are as follows: it is neither new, nor a river. It is, in fact, an aqueduct completed in 1613 built to deliver spring water from Hertfordshire to North London.

When it was originally designed, the aqueduct followed the natural features of the land, so its route twists and turns, creating a pathway through the London suburbs.

Read more

Framfield Footpath Nine and the battle for walkers’ rights

An unassuming footpath, Framfield Number Nine had no pretensions to be anything other than a simple thoroughfare.

Then, in 1989 it was abruptly blocked by a barn. The footpath then found itself at the centre of a landmark legal battle that influenced two acts of Parliament and with the help of the Ramblers, helped strengthen walkers’ rights.

Read more

Ice Houses

Prior to the invention of refrigeration, fresh food would either have to be eaten immediately or preserved in a way that would impact its flavour. With the invention of the ice house (or ice well), the residents of Mari (an ancient city in modern-day Syria) came up with a solution to this way back in 1780 BC.

Read more