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.

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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.

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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.

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