The Anonymous Widower

A Visit To Abbey Mills

This week is Sewer Week and I had an invite to visit the pumping station at Abbey Mills.

These pictures were taken of the outside and inside of this cathedral of sewage.

Formula One Meets Victorian Technology

A few years ago, Thames Water had a problem. Under the pumping station are Victorian centrifugal pumps that pump raw sewage to Beckton works for treatment. These are connected to 1930s electric motors in Dalek-like structures on the ground floor, using heavy steel shafts. The motors are controlled from the control panel in the last image.

The shafts were showing signs of their age and needed replacement.

So Thames Water turned to the experts in high-power transmission at high speed – Formula One.

The pumps are now connected to the electric motors, using high-strength, lower-weight carbon-fibre shafts.

It was a fascinating visit and thanks to Thames Water, who made it all possible.

May 16, 2011 - Posted by | World | , , , ,


  1. As a dressmaker, that is a very confusing name for a week!

    Comment by liz | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. It is a fascinating building, although not very scooter friendly.

    Comment by AnonW | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. […] meter, the lady in the call centre told me in detail how to do it. They also gave me a free tour of Abbey Mills and the sewers with very good food […]

    Pingback by A Final Good Bye TO EDF Energy « The Anonymous Widower | May 21, 2011 | Reply

  4. […] images are taken from the original drawings from the Abbey Mills pumping station. 52.245212 […]

    Pingback by Etchings in the Evening Sun « The Anonymous Widower | June 3, 2011 | Reply

  5. Hi- could you tell me how you arranged the tour of Abbey Mills? I’m writing a novel with action in the London sewers and I’d love to have a look round the Cathedral of Sewage!

    Please email me on

    Comment by doginabarrel Davies | June 15, 2011 | Reply

  6. […] one of London”s two cathedrals of sewage, I decided to accept it. The other cathedral is Abbey Mills. #gallery-32147-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-32147-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: […]

    Pingback by Open House – Crossness « The Anonymous Widower | September 24, 2012 | Reply

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