The Abbey Mills pumping station is a sewage plant designed so elaborately it looks like an authentic Byzantine monastery. It was thus named the Cathedral of Sewage.
Located in the Thames estuary, this one-of-a-kind pumping station was built between 1865 and 1868 to siphon London’s sewage from the low level sewers up to the high level plant which processes the waste waters. Designed by architect Charles Driver and engineers Joseph Bazalgette and Edmund Cooper, the Cathedral of Sewage has a cruciform layout with intricate Byzantine architecture, a special touch that earned it a place in the United Kingdom’s Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Not to mention, the fascinating building got a starring role in Batman Begins (2003) as the Arkham Asylum Laboratory with the Scarecrow and Rachel Dawes.
For many years the Cathedral has been unused and derelict, and was only slightly renovated in 2012 for the London Olympics. Visitors can only gain access to the site through pre-booked tours, and while exploring the abandoned machine rooms is exciting, trespassing is strictly prohibited by authorities.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.