Loyal to the Drain
Exploration of Labyrinth and the Shelf Life junction.
After nearly two weeks of high temperatures and not a drop of rain for some time, it had been another very hot day and the evening was not all that much cooler in London as I parked up with ConcreteJungle.
Within minutes we were below ground where the air was a little cooler but equally as humid and were now standing above the Mid Level Sewer #1.
From here a ladder led down to the bottom of some solid stone steps which 'water' from the overflow falls before entering the beautiful 5' two tone blue/red brick North Kensington Relief Sewer tunnel running west that meets up with the huge North Western Storm Relief Sewer.
What I love about this junction is that the 5' NKRS meets the 8'6" NWSRS roughly at an angle of 45 degrees and then proceeds to dissect it and continue its journey to the west. This angle provides for some stunning brickwork of the highest visual and engineering standards, with each brick that seamlessly joins the two tunnels made specially for its place. The older NKRS proceeds to double back on the NWSRS dissecting it two more times further downstream.
We didn't follow the NWSRS downstream from here as the steps were incredibly slippery, there was no handrail and the steps themselves tilt forwards!
The slipperiness is caused by the fact that there now appears to be a constant flow of nasty sewage in Labyrinth due to a sewer being connected directly to it further upstream which is a shame as this is an otherwise pristine tunnel.
From here we headed upstream where the tunnel reduces in size by a foot to a still very impressive 7'6". Built 89 years ago, it is quite modern as London drainage goes, but you could be forgiven for thinking it was much more modern considering the fine condition it is in.
A slow walk of about 25 minutes from here saw us passing a number of manhole shafts, a small storm relief sewer joining from the west which appears to have a connection with the Counters Creek Sewer, and the concrete sewer supplying the filth that we had the pleasure of walking through. Having passed this junction with the sewer, the tunnel was now clean and practically dry and before long we had reached another impressive staircase leading up to a large overflow chamber for the Mid Level Sewer #2.
Here you can see a nice mix of yellow, blue and red bricks.
When the sewer overflows the contents can either flow down the stairs or by way of a drop shaft leading to a small tunnel that meets the main tunnel at the bottom of the stairs.
The interesting feature here is the largest piece of fungus I have ever seen growing out of the wall, it is simply huge.