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The Crossness Pumping Station, London

#883 of 3,585 in Things to do in London
Landmark · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Crossness Pumping Station is a former sewage pumping station designed by the Metropolitan Board of Works's Chief Engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette and architect Charles Henry Driver at the eastern end of the Southern Outfall Sewer and the Ridgeway path in the London Borough of Bexley. Constructed between 1859 and 1865, as part of Bazalgette's redevelopment of the London sewerage system, it features spectacular ornamental cast ironwork, that Nikolaus Pevsner described as "a masterpiece of engineering – a Victorian cathedral of ironwork".
It is adjacent to Erith Marshes, a grazing marsh, the northern part of which is designated as Crossness Nature Reserve. This provides a valuable habitat for creatures ranging from moths to small amphibians and water voles.
The Southern Outfall Works, as the complex was originally called, was officially opened on 4 April 1865, by Edward, Prince of Wales, attended by Prince Alfred, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York and the Lord Mayor of London, and many other persons of rank.
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The Crossness Pumping Station reviews

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  • Fantastic piece of British history the way the volunteers have restored this building is absolutely beautiful !! The history and study of the pumping station is so Interesting all the volunteers were....  more »
  • Went along to a tour today and it was wonderful. Such passionate volunteers makes this tour so special. We had Wally take us around and share his knowledge of Crossness, and he was just lovely. Such.....  more »
  • A work in progress by the enthusiastic volunteer restorers. The amazing ironwork that appears in all of the photos is just a small part in the centre of the machinery and the rest remains to be painted. The engines are so gigantic that you can only see the top of the flywheels as the pistons and pumps are hidden below floor level. You can climb up to the first floor at the level of the beams. It is quite interesting but it pays to make the effort to go when the Prince Consort engine is in steam and running.
  • Visited on a Steaming day. The volunteers were so helpful and informative. You can get up close to the huge engines to appreciate the Victorian over engineering. Check out the shuttle bus timetable. It makes the visit much less complicated.

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