I was invited by Thames Water to be one of the two host photographers covering the visit by Prince Charles to the historic Abbey Mills Pumping Station in East London to celebrate the 150yr anniversary of London’s main sewerage system. The system was the brainchild of Sir Joseph Bazalgette and prompted by the infamous ‘Great Stink’ of 1858.
Whilst on site Prince Charles went down a 75m shaft to view the Lee Tunnel – 6.9km long and 7.2m wide – a major engineering scheme to prevent more than 16 million tonnes of sewage mixing with rainwater and overflowing into the River Lee.
My job was to photograph him above ground in the pumping station where he met operational staff and the many craftsmen and restoration specialists who’d been working on the anniversary project.
Prince Charles accompanied by Martin Baggs, CEO Thames Water, walks to the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, once dubbed 'Cathedral of Sewage'
Once inside, HRH was given a guided tour around the historic building by Thames Water staff
An example of the ornate ironwork that marks this out as a remarkable example of Victorian industrial architecture.
Chatting to Thames Water apprentices with one of the main pumps in the background.
Saskia Huning, a specialist in restoring and recreating historic painted decoration.
A drainage map demonstrates the complexity of the sewage network controlled by the Abbey Mills control centre.
Prince Charles is President of WaterAid. The international charity held a reception on site to promote its Big History Project asking the public for help in telling the story of water and sanitation in the UK. Yours truly was on hand to snap the prince meeting VIPs and guests before unveiling a stone plaque to commemorate his visit.
Dave Hillyard and Rosemary Carr of WaterAid