Esoteric London

No. 1098: Spring Place, Barking

Posted in Drains, The Thames and its Tributaries by esotericlondon on May 14, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_7735 copy

Spring Place, Barking. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

Dickens’s Dictionary Of The Thames, From Its Source To The Nore – Charles Dickens [Jr.], 1883:

Northern Outfall.– The Abbey Mills Pumping Station, one of the curiosities of modern civilisation, lies on the London, Tilbury, and Southend Railway, between the Bromley-by-Bow and the Plaistow stations […].

[…] Leaving the pumping-house by the door of what, ecclesiastically speaking, would be the north transept, we cross the garden to a smaller building, on entering which the faint pale stench which is the peculiar characteristic of the heavily-watered sewage of a modern town greets the visitor somewhat vigorously, all the more so, indeed, from its sudden contrast with the mignonette of which he has been enjoying the full fragrance up to the very moment of opening the door. This building rejoices in the unsavoury name of the Filth House, and is the only spot throughout the works where the grisly flood with which it is their special province to deal is permitted to come in contact with either eye or nose. Here the sewage, which so far has been allowed to stream along its ever-winding subterranean course free from let or hinderance of any kind, is subjected to the straining process, without which the various foreign bodies it carries with it would speedily choke the pumps through which it has now to pass. Corks of every sort and size form the staple of these incommodities, some three or four millions being a very moderate estimate of the numbers annually collected from the “cages” of the Filth House. But their savoury trophies are not by any means confined to innocent flotsam of this description, and amid the mass of rags, rats, and rubbish of various kinds, and in various conditions of decay, brought to light every three hours, as one set of cages is raised from the seething black flood and another lowered in its place, will every now and then be found a grislier jetsam still, on which Her Majesty’s Coroner must be called to sit, with a verdict perchance of “Wilful Murder.”