Loyal to the Drain
Constructed by London County Council and explored in the company of Tallginge and Seffy.
The storm relief sewers of London are usually always a pleasure to explore and paying a visit to this relatively short one was another worthwhile trip.
The Storm Relief begins at this reasonably sized CSO chamber on the Low Level Sewer #1 which is situated close to St. John’s Church in Fulham. From here it runs for about a mile in a south easterly direction towards Lots Road Pumping Station.
Here in the CSO chamber the sewer is only a small inverted egg shape measuring a mere 4ft in height by 2ft 8 inches wide.
It was surprising to see water pouring into the storm relief on a crisp sunny November morning but the reason for this was simply a technical issue as there was a gap in one of the dam boards on the overflow weir under which a substantial amount of flow was escaping.
At one end of the chamber the Storm Relief tunnel begins and the lovely red brickwork gives way to a boring concrete. Note the wear to the brickwork on the right hand side by the chafing of the iron chains under the force of overflows over the course of the last hundred years or thereabouts.
The thing that instantly struck me was the ‘tide mark’ which was over three quarters the height of the 6ft 6 inch tunnel. This drain would appear to also act as a storage facility for excess overflows in the event of sustained storm conditions.
After a few minutes walking downstream from here we came to the first junction which ran west in the direction of Parsons Green where there is another small CSO from a local sewer. We didn’t venture up this tunnel due to the small size of it.
A short while later another tunnel to the west joins the Storm Relief. (Photo is taken looking upstream to show both tunnels clearly)
This beautiful red brick pipe leads to another CSO on the Fulham branch of the LLS #1.
What can be seen at this point when looking up at the top of the tunnel in the Storm Relief is that the tunnel has at some point in the past filled completely to the top!
Venturing up the brick pipe leads to a similar but smaller chamber to that at the start of the Storm Relief.
At the top of the weir, the water in the slightly larger (4ft 6ins x 3ft wide) egg shaped sewer flows ferociously fast.
A couple of beached turds rest on the concrete ledge, the most recent evidence of an overflow most likely the previous night as it had rained quite heavily.
Again, a brief inspection of the ceiling of this chamber clearly shows evidence of having been completely full to the brim with water at some point by the tell tale polystyrene balls that are always a good indicator of past storm events.
I took no more photos of the Walham Green Storm Relief on its downstream route from here as there was sadly nothing more of interest to see.
The only thing to mention is that as the tunnel heads closer to its destination, the water level begins to rise higher and higher until it is too deep to progress any further.
From the sound of lapping water ahead, it would suggest that the level reaches the ceiling.
Quite what the setup is at the end of this drain is unclear but without scuba gear there wasn’t any easy way of finding out.