Riverside east of the Tower, south bank. Crossness Sewage Works

Riverside east of the Tower, south bank
Crossness Sewage Works.

Huge sewage works serving south London

Post to the east Belvedere Marshes
Post to the north, north bank only, Dagenham Dock
Post to the south Yarnton Way
Post to the north Crossness Engines

Belvedere Road
Crossness Sewage Works. The original sewage pumping station was built here for ether Metropolitan Board of Works in 1865. The original buildings remain and are in the square to the north. By the 1830s and '40s London's polluted river water was causing increasing problems for the public's health, and in 1856 the Metropolitan Board of Works appointed Joseph Bazalgette as Chief Engineer. An Act of Parliament in 1858 enabled the Board to construct the new sewage system and work began in 1859. Here at Crossness the major pumping station for the area south of the river was built along with the Southern Outfall sewer to feed sewage to the works., Built on a 37 acre site, the complex included 20 houses built for the workers all demolished by the 1960s.  Later buildings included the Precipitation Works Complex completed in 1892, and the original covered reservoir was extended to hold 25 million gallons. The Works passed to the London County Council’s Public Health Engineer.  In 1956 the old works was closed and a programme of modernisation undertaken. In 1964it was completely rebuilt with the largest mechanized aeration plant in the United Kingdom, capable of producing a nitrified effluent. In1965, when the Greater London Council was formed the works was passed to the Thames Water Authority. The works has been continuingly upgraded to represent the latest in sewage treatment technology and is the second largest such works in Europe. From 1887 to 1998, a fleet of special boats went from Crossness to Barrow Deep beyond the mouth of the Thames the jetty on site having been used by then. Between 1915 and 1967, the nearby Black Deep site was used for dumping sludge.  Since then sludge is burnt in a special incinerator (in the square to the east) and enough electricity is generated to run the rest of the plant. A current programme of works will upgrade the works again and enlarge its capacity.
Screen House. just beyond the entrance gate where large objects are removed before the sewage goes on for treatment
Sludge digestion tanks. The reinforced concrete primary sludge digestion tanks are of impress
Pond near the river the sole survivor of a number of cooling ponds on the site.
Large lake and the administration building for the modern works. The installations of the modern works lie to the east of this building. ive size with valve chambers dramatically corbelled out to span the roadways between the tanks.

Southmere Park. The park was built as part of the New Town development of Thamesmead and one of the earliest built. It is dominated by large-scale moulding, with dense tree-planting along paths and in groups on slopes of mounds.

A concrete flood defence wall divides Crossness complex of buildings from the river, which has a riverside path and cycleway along the top. The river wall needed extensive piling work when the works was first built.  160,000 cu yards was evacuated and 82,000 cu yards of mass concrete was used
Jetty - this handled the sludge boats. The original jetty for loading and unloading sludge disposal vessels.  Went out 60m from the shore.  T section 106m long. Built 1880 and demolished 1955

Crossness Engines Trust. Web site
London Gardens Online. Web site
Thames Water Web site


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