I don’t now how many times I’ve walked down Lassell Street down near Bannig Street and I’d never noticed this before. It is, of course, a Victorian stink pipe and although not exactly rare, certainly something of our industrial past we just don’t tend to notice.
Not to put too fine a point on it, these pipes were (and still are) used to vent dangerous methane and other unpleasant gasses from the sewers under our feet – we really, really wouldn’t want them building up and causing an explosion, so stink/stench/soil (according to how euphemistic you want to get) pipes are built nice and tall to get rid of both the gas and the smell from billions of bacteria gobbling up poo.
According to this excellent Greenich Industrial History Society article, it’s a type 3 stink pipe – public and freestanding, which are “usually of cast iron, often ornamental, typically: 6 inch /150 mm diameter; 20-25 feet / 6-8 metres tall.”
Despite some rather nice iron work around the base, this isn’t the most ornate pipe in Greenwich. So far, the winner of that coveted prize loiters on Straightsmouth and is really rather a splendid fellow (if you read the piece, you will be saddened to know that the last time I passed Farting Lane, London’s last sewer lamp appeared to be in very sad condition – the entire lamp part had disappeared. I’m just hoping it was away for repairs…)
But now I’m thinking. Surely these two chaps can’t be the only stench pipes left in Greenwich? They are such anonymous customers it’s really easy to walk straight past them so now, I want your help.
Richard Buchanon in his article, mentions several stink pipes in the borough of Greenwich – but none in the actual town. Let’s see if we can compile a collection of them. Let me know if you know of one.
And, just to prove there’s a blog for everything, here is one dedicated to the stench pipes of London.
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