John Gulliver: Poo corner

Have you seen a stench pipe?

Tuesday, 19th April

stench pipe

ONCE stinky, now a relic – this stench pipe of Parliament Hill has welcomed visitors to the lido for 200 years.

An uninitiated viewer may think it is a streetlamp, but they would be mistaken. This wrought iron creation dates back to Victorian times. Stench pipes were erected across the city to release gasses from the sewer below and prevent dangerous build-ups. If too much gas built up the sewers would explode.

Instead, gas would float up our friendly stench pipe to be released above passersby heads. The listing for the pipe says it is “an unusual survival of this once common feature”.

Now it is no more than a relic, reminding us that beneath our feet sewage bubbles away. If you see a stench pipe on your rambles around Camden, please get in touch, I would love to hear about it.

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