Report - - Abbey Mills "The Cathedral of Sewage" –London – August 2018 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Abbey Mills "The Cathedral of Sewage" –London – August 2018

mockney reject

Staff member
The History

The original Abbey Mills Pumping Station, in Stratford, East London, is a sewage pumping station, designed by engineer Joseph Bazalgette, Edmund Cooper, and architect Charles Driver. It was built between 1865 and 1868, housing eight beam engines by Rothwell & Co. of Bolton. Two engines on each arm of a cruciform plan, with an elaborate Byzantine style, described as The Cathedral of Sewage.

Another of Bazalgette's designs, Crossness Pumping Station, is located south of the River Thames at Crossness, at the end of the Southern Outfall Sewer. A modern pumping station (F Station) was completed in 1997[2] about 200 metres (660 ft.) south of the original station.

The pumping station was built at the site of an earlier watermill owned by the former Stratford Langthorne Abbey, from which it gained its name. It was first recorded as Wiggemulne in 1312, i.e., "the mill of a man called Wicga", an Old English personal name, and subsequently became associated with the abbey. The Abbey lay between the Channelsea River and Marsh Lane (Manor Road). It was dissolved in 1538. By 1840, the North Woolwich railway ran through the site, and it began to be used to establish factories, and ultimately the sewage pumping stations.

The pumps at Abbey Mills raised the sewage in the London sewerage system between the two Low Level Sewers and the Northern Outfall Sewer, which was built in the 1860s to carry the increasing amount of sewage produced in London away from the centre of the city.

The two Moorish styled chimneys – unused since steam power had been replaced by electric motors in 1933 – were demolished in 1941, as it was feared that a bomb strike from German bombs might topple them on to the pumping station.

Abbey Mills still houses electric pumps that can be used as a back-up for the new facility next door.

The main building is grade II* listed and there are many grade II-listed ancillary buildings, including the stumps of the demolished chimneys.

The Abbey Mills site has been used as a film location a number of times:-

The B Station represented Arkham Asylum in the 2005 film Batman Begins and was also used as the location for the "Cosy Prisons" video shoot by Norwegian pop band A-ha on 4 March 2006.

In 2007, the second show in season 1 of Derren Brown's Trick or Treat series was partially filmed at Abbey Mills in which two of three paintings were cut with a knife as part of a trick.

The disused and stripped out C Station was used in the 2008 film, Franklyn.

The C Station was used in Series 2 Episode 4 of the TV series Primeval.

In 2009, the station was used by British rock band Coldplay as a set for the music video to their song "Lovers in Japan".

The Explore

Abbey Mills

Abbey Mills

Oh Abbey Mills!!!!

I must have visited Abbey Mills more times than I care to remember, it first came to my attention after reading Bradley Garrett’s Book, Explore Everything whilst on holiday. Not long after returning from that holiday I made my way to Stratford and decided I could do this…

Could I fuck lol

So I did the next best thing, I went home and sulked about it.

Although whilst sulking I managed to read pretty much every article could find on Abbey Mills, From the various blogs to posts on here.

If I’m honest I drove myself mad lol

I visited Abbey Mills a further 5 times trying to work out how it could be done.

I even convinced myself I could climb one of the gates at the back and squeeze between the razor wire that adorns the top of the huge prison style fence.

Then it happened

I don’t believe in planets aligning and all that shit but, one Saturday afternoon saw me making a trip down the M11 and onto the A406 towards Abbey Mills.

I arrived and parked up, I did my usual wander around the perimeter looking for holes and potential places to hop the huge fence.

This time was different, I’d printed out an aerial view of the site from good ole Google Earth and decided I’d mark the gates, cameras and anything else useful on it.

Then I noticed something different to the norm.

I had found it

A way in, or had I?

I wandered up to the local shop to grab a spot of lunch, as it happened the shop was the worst stocked corner shop I had ever been in! I wandered away with a couple of packs of space raiders, a can of red bull and plotted up near my potential access point to eat my “lunch”.

Whilst eating I was trying to convince myself that I should just go for it.

Whilst my head was telling me no, fuck me that sounds like an R Kelly song.

I decided that I should just got for it so grabbed my camera bag from the car and emptied it of all unnecessary stuff encase I needed to have it away on my toes.

Well my entry point worked, well it must have done otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

Once inside the site I had a mad Anneka Rice (google her youngsters) style dash around the building looking for an entry point, I eventually found one and made my way in.


I had a good hour or so inside on what felt like the hottest day of the year before I made my way out drenched in sweat and needing to grab a much needed bottle of water to quench my thirst.

That was it I’d done it, Despite the inside being covered in scaff I was still gobsmacked at how stunning this place really is.

Abbey Mills you rock!

Enjoy the pics

The outside of this place is worth seeing alone

The temptation to press buttons was strong…

And on to the inside

Those Damn Daleks

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Staff member
Nice :thumb

Although It's also worth noting that contrary to popular belief, there are no Daleks in here

..Just pumps that are used to pump sewage from the Low Level up into the Northern Outfall Sewer that transfers to Beckton STW, props for this ;)


grumpy sod
Regular User
One of my favourite spots - a shame all my photos from back in the day are proper shocking.

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