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Report - King Scholars Pond Sewer (River Tyburn), London 2014.

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by Ojay, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Nov 24, 2008
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    King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer (River Tyburn), London


    The River Tyburn in it's purest existence has long gone, instead becoming a CSO known as the King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer

    Allegedly it was once a prime fishing stream..

    It's hard to visualise nowadays, as it's generally a combined sewer filled with brown trout and any sign of the Tyburn long being sucked off down the Mid Level No.2 Interceptor

    In order to see it properly, involved a number of trips over a few months, mainly separated by adverse weather and working between two Cities

    I dropped in at the upstream end near Lords Cricket Ground with Adders one summer evening, we traversed upstream in the original sewer constructed in 1825

    Here, the original 5'5" x 3'5" brick egg sewer as it heads through St. John's Wood from Hampstead


    *(The RBP on the left is a local sewer added c. 1940)

    We reached a significant junction which dates back to the same era, except some major alterations took place circa 1910 when J Bizzle

    (Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works) headed the construction of the London County Council’s Middle Level Sewer No.2


    I've purposely spared the detail here, out of respect I'd rather see people read JD's write up of it here if they haven't already > http://www.sub-urban.com/anatomy-of-a-junction-one/

    It was steamy as hell in here, and infact much of what we encountered on follow up trips wasn't much better, it really is a filthy place despite not being all that obvious in the rest of the pics

    Also, it's one of the few systems in London where the meter wasn't happy, it's filled with higher than normal levels of Methane and the downstream stretch stirs up high levels of H2S :eek:

    It's worth noting at this point, that this is indeed a dangerous recreation and I wouldn't advise traipsing through sewers unless you have some suitable equipment and half an idea what to expect

    (Marigolds optional) :p:

    You can hear the Jubilee line rattling away somewhere below


    At capacity any flow that fails to keep up with the ML2 ends up downstream via this elaborate staircase/overflow chamber


    Beyond which a 7ft RBP leading to a 5x3ft Egg around 60m further down


    A short distance and it intersects this junction below Park Road

    (Pic looking back upstream)


    Beyond which 2 x 4ft cast iron pipes carry the KSP over the Regents Canal

    30m of bent double with fresh being splashed in ones face is plenty of fun :rolleyes:


    The other side a 7ft Egg for around 800m and no way out

    (this was the end section, looking back upstream)


    About half way down (approx) was this drain graff

    "The Happy Flusher"


    Before a shape change to a similar sized brick extended arch as it heads down Baker Street


    As we near Baker Street Underground Station, the sewer passes through a re-inforced cast iron conduit inside a District Line tunnel


    The next stretch conveys the sewer across Marylebone through an 8ft extended brick arch


    It passes Manchester Square and winds towards Oxford Street, with an increasing number of smaller side pipes adding to the flow




    Next stop is Oxford Street, originally 'Tyburn Road' up until the early 18th century before it was renamed in favour of the nearby university town

    More fresh joins and the flow is quite fast as we approach the Mid Level No.1 Interceptor



    Again, it was steamy as hell and pics proved difficult at this point

    I grabbed a couple of final pics before packing up, Adders assisted as I was sprayed with p00 once more from sidepipes :thumb

    We carried on below Oxford Street having packed the cameras away as we approached the deadly staircase that resides further down

    Around 50m, we gave up ahead of the staircase as the flow was dragging us off our feet and there was nothing at all other than bog roll and bergs to pinch a hold

    At this point there was a 'maintained' diversion tunnel and the TW date tag was less than 4 weeks old so I figured it might be easier to retreat back to the next upstream manhole

    Comedy gold as we popped out in front of a slightly famous department store with one bemused secca stood outside as we climbed out into the busy street

    Consciuous of the amount of lively looking cctv cameras about here we tailed off some back street in search of some cold ones, sadly it's an alcohol free zone

    So, unless you fancy pissing your hard earned on some designer regalia... No thanks I'd rather stick to my p00p covered rags, besides shopping is for pussys!

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  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Nov 24, 2008
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    With no way past the staircase we returned a few nights later having waited out the usual biblical rain that seems to thwart any future draining plans :banghead
    Pics were near on impossible again here due to the amount of steamy shyte continually attracted to my oversized glass

    Just below the impassable thundering staircase which halted our previous trip, another local sewer joins


    The flow then exits off down the Mid Level No.1 Interceptor; under the penstock to the right of the pic below

    In the foreground; just behind the camera a fetid pit of despair bubbled away beneath our feet as we each took it in turns to grab a shot


    With all flow now diverted down to the interceptor, the tunnel is dry for a good 70m and serves as a storage tunnel whilst the system is at capacity

    Usually, sewers after an interception are usually clean(ish) and constructed of visible brick, not here, just like everything else the KSP offers it's grim as fuck!

    The brick invert remains, just, however the rest is caked in fatty deposits and some questionable grey concoction, it's more shit 'creted than spray 'creted


    Beyond which another re-enforced conduit, it's invert filled with a huge fat berg

    This section appears to be under or alongside Bond Street underground station and would explain the strengthening


    A couple of small side pipes contribute to the startup of flow again

    There was little activity at night, but pretty sure I wouldn't want to be at the receiving end of some of those foul connections during the daytime

    At the end of the conduit heading downstream a staircase.. you might wonder why it doesn't head away from the flow ?

    This is because it serves as a reverse overflow and only comes into play when the Mid Level can't cope, sending sewage down this stretch

    It's not unusual to find dry sections after an interceptor during regular conditions


    The flow starts to pick up again as more local sewers dump their load as it heads down towards the West End


    After a fair bit of walking we came to a silted stretch where the flow had been restricted

    It was somewhat grim as we waded balls deep in shit for a good 70m, the meter wasn't happy either due to the amount of Methane we were churning up along the way

    This is the West End right ? :rolleyes:


    Eventually the flow levels out, more local sewers add to the mix as we wandered further downstream towards Mayfair




    The next major feature we hit is the KSP overflow chamber, which is also linked to the Westbourne's (Ranelagh Storm Relief)



    It sits outside the Japanese Embassy and is one filthy shit-hole (the CSO that is)

    I've never seen as many rats in this section, the fat berg beyond the ladder down to the overflow providing supper

    Downstream towards Green Park




    A short distance down, the flow was once again intercepted, this time down the Low Level No.2


    The pipe becomes dry once again until we pass under a certain Royal landmark



    We chased Regal faeces down through Westminster

    Take your pick :D




    The shape changes to a round red/yellow brick pipe, the only content at this point being from the derp above ;)

    It's not long before we encounter a slight problem, and kind of to be expected considering where we were

    Now I'm not going into detail for obvious reasons, we wasn't for taking any chances until having spoke to a couple of seasoned drain0rs who had been down this stretch previously

    Once we were semi-satisfied we could continue, we returned a week or so later to finish off..

    Beyond the Palace, the sewer widens once again back to the 8ft extended brick arch we had been accustomed to


    Now although the above pic looks nice enough, it actually wasn't the next 100m or so were pretty grim

    Silted up and full of rags etc stirring up cautionary levels of Methane & H2S kept us on high alert, there was only one breather/lid on this stretch which appeared to be in the middle of a busy carriageway


    Just as we passed the brick section that had been altered somewhere under Victoria we came across a large hydraulic flap


    Previous accounts of this discuss a usable manhole beyond it, we were only happy to proceed based on that knowledge

    Turns out there is a lid, much further down, except it no longer lifts from underneath, so perhaps just as well the thing didn't close whilst we were down there :eek:

    We never managed to locate the lid above ground in the end despite being aware of where we could expect to find it

    There is a lot of work going on around Victoria until 2018, what with the ticket hall extension and Cross Rail, we assumed it had been 'lost' behind some hoarding somewhere

    It probably wouldn't lift due to stuff being piled on it, we will never know

    A short section of the existing brick tunnel had been cut into and since replaced by concrete, this stretch recorded the highest levels of H2S I'd encountered anywhere!


    My guess is the recent work at Victoria might have something to do with the upgrade here ?


    No sooner did the brick tunnel re-appear, it was soon back to concrete as we hit the downstream limit (for now) by way of another flow control flap


    The manhole to the side is the one that wouldn't budge, and regrettably we had to go all the way back to the nearest usable exit, which was a good distance from here :banghead

    I felt much better once we was back beyond that hydraulic flap for sure

    We headed back above ground and enjoyed a few Kronies before calling it a night
  3. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Nov 24, 2008
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    Now at this point it was job done for me as I'd already done the lower reaches earlier in the year

    Adders was keen to finish it off so I set about looking for a lid nearer to the flap so we could continue

    In the end we made 2 further trips as in the first instance it was high tide and he didn't get to see the final outfall chamber as it hits the Thames

    The entire downstream section (aside from the Thames outfall) is a filthy, dirty shit hole!

    It's only saving grace, the section beyond Victoria is pretty spectacular from a construction/engineering perspective

    We started the other side of the flap from the previous trip and made our way downstream

    The first 70m wasn't too bad but a short distance around where we dropped in was pretty grim

    It was a bit clearer on the 2nd trip, however there was still quite a bit of H2S present, so with a careful eye on the meter proceeded once more


    Arguably the best Horshoe I've seen in a drain, despite it almost sharting all over me a moment earlier

    This was one super shart p00per :thumb


    A good way down and the sewer widens to over 4m, it's contents now diverted down a 3ft channel, allowing us to finally get out of the fresh



    This is the last we see of the KSP/Tyburn as it's remaining contents sent down the Low Level No.1 Interceptor, ahead of this a large overflow chamber

    (These can be seen in the pics below)



    I decided to jump into the sewer and take a look at the interceptor, as you can see from the pic it's a mess and not somewhere to further traverse!


    It looks quite calm, except around 2ft in front of the camera the level dropped to an unknown depth

    The under-current was trying to claim my dipped leg, so I headed back to the overflow where Adders was taking some pics..

    It was now approaching high tide, so we opted for a quick look at the outfall chamber before calling it a night

    A sizeable RCP heads down towards the Thames, it's used to discharge waste water when the system is at capacity

    During high tide the pipe half fills too, not somewhere we wished to hang about as the tide was indeed now turning on us


    Here is the end chamber, the Thames sitting behind the flap you can just about make out

    It was full of tidal fudge and it was starting to back fill, one last pic and out!


    It's been a fascinating experience seeing this lot, and equally as frustrating waiting around for the weather and finding suitable ways in/out

    Shouts to Adders for some comedy gold evenings, and look forward to seeing his photatoes also at some point

    Also thanks to Siologen for a heads up on that staircase, as another 10m and would have been brown bread :thumb
  4. georgie

    georgie He Never Even Got There
    Regular User

    May 2, 2009
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    The best drain report I've seen for a while
  5. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
    Regular User

    Jul 17, 2010
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    Home Page:
    Fook me this is massive..good read and pics to go with it

  6. The Kwan

    The Kwan Easily Led
    Regular User

    Mar 28, 2011
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    Feckin bejeezus man, thats it basically :thumb

    Actually, the cast tubes and 4ft egg :eek:

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Oct 19, 2013
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    Top shit mate :thumb

    Always impressive & educational :)
  8. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
    Regular User

    Oct 14, 2012
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    Wow, what an epic report! :thumb
    certainly interesting reading from somewhere I probably won't see first hand.
    Good work
  9. green godess

    green godess 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    May 13, 2011
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    Hell's Bell's & Buckets of Blood & Gypsum - that's an amazing report and photographic survey from you. It must have been like the hinges-of-hell down there and your photo documentation was to say the least 'excellent' in such steamy and difficult conditions.

    Your tenacity and determination to complete that walk is amazing and your report is one of the best sewer travels I yet to read.

    Well done both of you, a rel joy and pleasure to read !!

    best regards from

  10. Adders

    Adders living in a cold world
    Regular User

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Not enough photos of the 2000km of slippy ass tunnels it felt like we walked.

    I've sorted my images out, but can't contend with this write up so will sit on them a while.

    It was a pleasure man, here's to the next one!
  11. Oort

    Oort The Spice Must Flow.
    Regular User

    Aug 26, 2014
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    That was fascinating, thanks for the effort!
  12. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Dec 1, 2013
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    Epic! Those royal faeces might be worth something ya know :D
  13. the126

    the126 Reckless & irresponsible
    Regular User

    Feb 11, 2007
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    Wow! Top stuff as always mate:thumb

    Those Victorians certainly knew how to build things properly!
  14. Nickindroy

    Nickindroy A Porky Prime Cut
    Regular User

    Feb 20, 2012
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    Extreme shyter-pilot tastic mate. :thumb
  15. anubis

    anubis 28" Member
    Regular User

    May 29, 2011
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    Legendary stuff. They knew how to build sewers for sure.
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