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Bazalgette and London's sewage

Introduction
London's sewage problem
Bazalgette's system
Later improvements
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Introduction

The 'silent highway'-man. 'Your money or your life!'.
View full size imageThe 'silent highway'-man. © NMM
By the middle of the 19th century, London was on the brink of an environmental catastrophe. The city was growing rapidly in terms of population and size, and the old ways of supplying water, burying the dead and disposing of sewage were rapidly becoming inadequate.

The pipes of the Northern Outfall Sewer.
View full size imageThe pipes of the Northern Outfall Sewer. © NMM
Little was done until the 'Great Stink' of 1858 offended Members of Parliament. Over the following seven years, Joseph Bazalgette and the Metropolitan Board of Works constructed a simple but immense sewage disposal system for London, an awesome feat for the time. London still relies on Bazalgette's sewers.

 

 

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Find out more
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StoriesSocial conditions in the 19th-century port
Life in the dockland slums
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8
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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