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Two thousand years ago the Romans enjoyed indoor plumbing but until a couple of hundred years ago Londoners were still emptying their chamber pots out of the window. In 1858 the long hot summer turned into The Great Stink with the Thames little more than an open sewer. Something had to be done. W e begin in central London tracking London’s lost rivers, cruise the Thames to Greenwich and drive across the old Thames marshes to the extraordinary Cathedral of Sewage built to house the Crossness Engines.

Meet the Blue Badge Guide at 10.30am in the City for morning coffee (included) at a pub with possibly the best loos in L ondon. We tell the story of spending a penn y from Roman times to the coming of the flush loo. We trace London’s lost rivers, tell the story of The Great Stink and show you how Victorian engineer Sir Joseph’s Bazalgette achieved one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering ever seen. Bazalgette stopped London’s waste running into the Thames by building massive intercepting sewers beneath new Embankments created by pushing back the mighty Thames behind stone walls. On Bazalgette’s Victoria Embankment, we board a Thames Pleasure Cruiser to Greenwich. You must bring packed lunches today to eat during the cruise.

From Greenwich the coach whisks us further east past Woolwich to the Thames Marshes and the Cathedral of Sewage. With bacteria yet to be discovered or understood Bazalgette believed the danger lay in the miasma – the stink, so the new sewers simply delivered London’s waste to Crossness to be stored before being pumped back into the river for the high tide to sweep it out to sea.

Discover some of our most spectacular ornamental Victorian cast ironwork and possibly the world’s largest surviving beam engines. There’s a museum and a social story here too – the workers lived on site in terraced cottages built right above the massive sewage storage tank. Mesh at the windows kept the flies at bay. It must have stunk to high Heaven but my goodness they grew good tomatoes! A most unusual day comes to a conclusion with tea and biscuits at Crossness included in the tour fee before heading home at 4.30pm  

Adults & Seniors: £34

Available selected Tuesdays

and Thursdays in 2020-21 from

April to October.

You must bring packed lunches!

We can’t run the tour as

described as a Jam Buster

but do ask about the Sunday

Steaming option and the Great

Stink SleepOver for groups

coming from farther afield.

Price Valid to 31 March 2021

20 miles