Report - - Wandsworth, Battersea, Wandle and Low Level Relief Sewers (all but the Devils Gate) London June 2019 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Wandsworth, Battersea, Wandle and Low Level Relief Sewers (all but the Devils Gate) London June 2019


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Wandsworth, Battersea, Wandle and Low Level Relief Sewers
(but still not quite the Devils Gate :rolleyes:)​

I'll start with a map. Even with one this lot's well confusing o_O It's not to scale :D

Here's a few pics from mine and @TheVicar s first attempt at Devils Gate that I did a --report-- on earlier in the year.
Starting at the spraycreted overflow at the southern end of the Wandsworth Relief by the Low Level No.2......​

.....and walking northwards towards the Falcon Brook pumping station, where we crossed over what I’d previously assumed was the Falcon Brook. @siologen then explained it’s actually the Low Level Relief Sewer, which doesn’t appear on new or old drain maps for some reason – not ours anyway. I’m pretty sure now this concrete reinforcing section plugs a hole directly above the relief sewer and different overflows used to drop down into it from in front of and behind me. Additional ironwork has very recently been added to strengthen the area further - this is a six month old pic​

Turning around to look downstream there’s this big old junction. Storm flows go down to the right now but I’m pretty sure flows used to go the other way into the now plugged hole behind. A lot has changed round here over the years. It sits very close to the Falcon Brook pumping station, the Low Level No.1 and several other small sewers. Some of these were bombed in the war and what we see now is how it was all patched up.​

Storm flows come down this short staircase and through a 4ft concrete pipe on the right at the bottom. After this you enter this concrete chamber from the pipe on the left of the third pic below. On our first visit this manhole had a pump above it which kept chuckin’ water down the shaft nearly soaking us as we passed underneath :eek:

Up the middle pipe was the remains of a penstock and an overflow from a cast iron pipe, presumably carrying the Low Level No.1​

Up the right hand pipe was another smaller overflow that I’d forgot to photograph on our first visit. To get to it you pass through other old confined brick chambers with more bricked up old pipes and confusion. I'm not sure what this pipe is. Probably just a local sewer that goes to the pumping station. I don't think it's the Low Level Interceptor. But it might be :p

Since our initial visit I’ve been back three times now. First was on my own one evening to see if the water level at the Devils Gate was low enough yet. Upon approaching the main concrete chamber, the one with all the water splashing down it that had previously caused all the racket, I realised it was still quiet. I was beginning to think that if they'd turned the pump off that maybe the levels would be lower so i was getting hopeful. I kept walking until I realised I could hear voices…….How odd, I thought, it’s nearly midnight. Surely it’s not from above ground or workers? Then I heard a drill….. I kept walking, getting closer and closer but couldn’t be sure how far away they were. Noise travels far in drains so they could be literally ½ a mile away and I’d still have been able to hear them, though not clearly - the echoes distort the sound. I thought they could be round any of the next corners so I turned my torch off, only flicking it on briefly low down to check I wasn’t about to trip over something. It may sound obvious to folk who go underground but someone else round the next corner doesn’t have to be shining their torch your way to see your torch light against the corner of a pipe approaching them. Just because I couldn’t see or hear them round the next corner it didn’t mean they weren’t there.​

That inline concrete ‘sleeve’ plugging the hole I mentioned earlier is 4 inches thick so holds the remnants from all overflows upstream. To see where these voices were coming from I now had to walk through that water. Remember I was doing a lot of this in pitch darkness thinking they could be just round the next bend. Every time the drill stopped and they weren’t talking I wondered if they could hear me coming or see the brief flash of my torchlight reflect off the walls.​

Once passed the water it was easier to be stealthy but they were obviously closer and much more likely to see my torchlight now. I then had the short set of slippery stairs to go down - I used my phone screen for this as its dimmer. I could now see their torchlight and hear what they were saying. They were bank robbers! Only kidding they were obviously workers and they were right where I didn’t want them to be. The good news was, though, or so I thought, was that if they’re working there then the levels must be low enough so we can come back. RESULT :D

Fuck I coulda made them lads jump though........Here's a pic of what i could see of them and some very shit vid showing me walking down a pipe with the noise of them drilling in the distance​

That should’ve been it for the night, I suppose, but the interceptor up the other end was really low last time we were there and I wanted to see where it went. So I left the workers and walked upstream, which was far easier with my torch facing away from them, back up to the Low Level No.2. There’s barely a foot of flow in it so I cheerfully walked upstream for about 15 mins (downstream would have been far less sensible)​

Downstream: invert drops away and much more flow joins from a nasty sewer on the right. You’ll see the nasty one again later. Death by drowning almost certain ahead....it just looks placid​

Upstream: why so little flow? This is an interceptor! Three hole overflow on right leads to Wandsworth Relief I’d just walked up.​

After 15 mins or so there was a concrete side chamber on the left with this in it. It’s a counter-weight, which pivots over an axle (or used to) to allow the little slot behind it to be opened from above when the interceptors going mental - I think. It’s knackered now but pretty cool​

At this point I checked my map again and realised I was probably about to understand everything that siologen had previously described with his 'fag packet' map in my last thread. From where this counter weight was I could hear a roaring of water – the interceptor I’d been walking in was silent and basically empty, so it wasn’t that! I climbed up the ladders and noticed that there was another set behind them so I climbed down. This led to a short set of stairs but I didn’t know whether down them was upstream or not, the 8ft concrete pipe was dry as a bone. I walked towards the noise until I got to this overflow. I’m pretty damn sure it’s for the Wandle Valley Extension. I suspect it used to enter the Low Level Interceptor where the slot and reverse staircase now are until it was diverted and the original line used as an overflow, which then needed to pass over the Interceptor by way of an inverted sump/ siphon - presumably going under it wouldn't have worked. This nasty sewer, I suspect, now enters the Low Level No.2 just downstream of the three hole overflow that TheVicar and I visited last time and where I’d just walked up from.​

Turning around, I walked back past the slot (which is just right of the bottom step) then up the stairs, along 50m or so and back down another longer set of stairs.​

Shortly after that I came to a concrete wall - the one that Siologen climbed so well…. I’m telling yer leaning over a wall with yer feet 4ft off the floor makes for one of the most uncomfortable pictures I’ve ever taken! Behind it is what appears to have been another staircase as the top of the pipe dropped away steeply. It’s full of water so whether it acts as a sump or what I don’t know. Maybe it even leads to this Jews Row sewer or used to. Check out the rags in the grill 8ft up though! Storm flows now go down the slide in the hole on the right​

Directly beneath the wall the Low Level No.1 Relief runs perpendicularly. Storm flows go down the 5ft slide into the relief and it ends up back where the workers/ bank robbers were near the Devils Gate. I’d managed to walk three sides of a square and by-passed them, almost by accident.​

I chose to walk upstream in the Low Level Relief to avoid the workers but when I went back with TheVicar we opted to go downstream to see the Devils Gate. Alas we still didn’t get to see it as it was still flooded and on our third and most recent visit from the downstream end, again, it was too deep for us. All we saw downstream of the slide was this concrete staircase, carrying no flow, which rather than dropping into the nearby and parallel Low Level Interceptor No.1, it drops into its relief instead. Presumably it's a storm relief from something but I don't know what or where it'll be. It's about 4ft diameter.​

The Low Level No.1 this side of the Thames is tiny, compared to the north. I quoted this piece in my previous report taken from the LCC’s (that’s London County Council :rolleyes:) report from 1904​

As regards the western portions of Wandsworth and Battersea, the floodings appear to have been due to the fact that the southern low-level sewer in Battersea-park-road is unable to take away the quantities of water brought into it by the Falcon-brook sewer, the Wandle sewer in Garratt-lane, and the western portion of the low-level sewer itself, the first-named sewer being capable of discharging more than the low-level sewer can convey.

I’ve not found any info online regarding the Low Level No.1 Relief Sewer so I don’t know when it was built. What’s confusing me most is it has a brick invert along it’s entire length, which would suggest it was built before the war but bomb damage during the war was the cause of some of the alterations o_O And it not being marked on the 1955 sewer map or the 1933 one - how come? And beyond the wall that siologen climbs so well (and also at the top of a ramp going to the relief) is that brick tumbling bay. But a new concrete pipe leads in to that now and the top of the tumbling bay must only just pass over the relief that's beneath it. So what order was all that built in then? Has the whole low level interceptor been diverted in this area because of bombs? It's 150 years old - I don't remember seeing it made of brick when I climbed up to the overflow in the next pic below, though.....​

After deciding that the Devils Gate wasn’t worth getting a soaking over we turned back, disappointed and went and saw the western upstream end of the Low Level Relief. After passing the slide on the left there was an overflow from the 4ft Interceptor on the right. Pic looking downstream.​



more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
The main line of the relief appears to just stop but another 4ft concrete pipe comes in from the left. Up this is another concrete pipe, which is carried through the overflow chamber in a similar fashion to the cast iron one at the other end.​

You can climb up on to it and into another sewer. I don’t know what this one is or where it goes except there’s several 5ft brick egg branches just downstream of it. It’s pretty deep and minging up this end but slow flowing and as weird as the rest of it.​

The concrete overflow chamber I’d just walked from on the left and some disused rat filled pipe on the right. More handheld rubbish I'm afraid​

Turning around​

Flow comes through the pipe on the left. Some of it heads off down a bigger, deeper pipe to the left (2nd pic) and some goes where I went down to the right (3rd pic)​

So apart from the Devils Gate itself there isn’t much else to see.​

There’s lots of bricked up and blocked off pipes and lots of modern concrete. It’s one system that I’ve not really been able to get my head around, though which makes it all the more intriguing. Accessing the small, disused parts is tricky as is finding out what damage was caused during the war to cause all the changes​

Thanks for lookin’​


Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Great to see your pics and report of this very confusing system!
It's a tricky one to try and get your head around and I can't honestly say I fully understand quite what is going on in this place.
The blocked off tunnel by the slide into the Low level relief is a really odd feature, I'd love to know where that went off to.
Despite never getting to see the Devil's Gate (damn you Satan!), the 3 trips I made with you to this place were good times as usual and the access point at 17 on the map was certainly a challenging one. :thumb


I Go Where The Drains Are
Regular User
You pretty much saw the whole thing...
The tunnel remnant behind the wall was the original Jews Row SR that was hit by a stray bomb, thus this being such an odd (by London standards) system.


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Thanks thought so. That was an awkward pic to take - getting winded trying to climb up on it :banghead @TheVicar yeah was certainly a challenge getting out that way first time. Nice to have more than one way in/ out of these places though - proved useful here :D


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
What does the triangular yellow warning sign in the 2nd to last pic say, that is reflected on the turd soup? Warning of a slide/steep drop or vortex?


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Thought some of yers might like these couple of drawings I came across. First two relate to the weird fork I couldn't get me head around at the start of the thread. Turns out London County Council were planning their storm reliefs with future modifications in mind - even though it was never modified and probably never will be now thanks to Tideway. Good on 'em though - makes for a nice picture

This pic relates to the concrete connection with the Low Level No.2 at the upstream end of the Battersea and Wandsworth Relief - where the three holes now are. Don't remember noticing the patched up brickwork on the left from within the Interceptor (below.) It's only half a bell-mouth junction now! Obviously, the low level no.2 has been built downstream of here as well (it's blurry as fook in pic!) so it's flow no longer goes down the relief. The tumbling bay must have gone when they connected the 'nasty' Wandle Valley sewer or not have been built at all. Liked the manhole shaft drawing as well - heard this was an original entrance as well - fair play! Can send full size images if anyone wants them

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