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Architecture, ornament and excrement: the Crossness and Abbey Mills pumping stations

Paul Dobraszczyk a a Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, University of Reading, Reading, UK

To cite this Article Dobraszczyk, Paul(2007) 'Architecture, ornament and excrement: the Crossness and Abbey Mills pumping stations', The Journal of Architecture, 12: 4, 353 — 365 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/13602360701614631 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13602360701614631

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Architecture, ornament and excrement: the Crossness and Abbey Mills pumping stations

Paul Dobraszczyk

Introduction

In ‘Ornament and Crime’ (1908), one of the most powerful early ‘manifestos’ of architectural modern- ism, Adolf Loos directly equates ornament with all manner of filth. With insistent repetition, his denun- ciation of ornament is dramatised through its equation with dirt, the negative meanings of the term, in all its semantic contexts, being used to force home his argument: ornament equals sickness, disease, degeneracy, decay, waste, sterility and ruin. 1 Such images were to become common tropes for future spokesmen of modernism. When in 1928 Siegfried Giedion looked back at nine- teenth-century historicised industrial buildings, he condemned the ‘contaminating air’ of their orna- mentation, which he regarded as infecting them with a ‘decorative sludge’. 2 In this paper I will look back to the nineteenth-century, at two buildings that serve to contextualise very precisely the relationship between historicised ornament and dirt: London’s Crossness (Fig. 1; 1862–65) and Abbey Mills (Fig. 2; 1865–68) pumping stations. 3 Both performed important engineering functions within London’s main drainage system — the world’s first city-wide sewerage network con- structed in the 1860s — and both were key symbolic sites for public awareness of that system, and the setting of public ceremonies to mark its com- pletion. 4 I explore how these buildings became a focus for sustained reflection on the relationship between architecture and dirt. In their design, the architect put forward a redemptive vision of

Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, University of Reading, Reading, UK

excrement in the city, purified by technological development and enshrined as a valuable resource in itself; visitors saw wonder in their noble function but also expressed disquiet at the monstrous quan- tities of sewage concentrated in their subterranean spaces. Within the focus of this paper, I will not address the undeniable social, cultural and architec- tural differences between London in the 1860s and Loos and Giedion in Vienna and Germany half a century later; rather, through these pertinent histori- cal case-studies, I question the latters’ tendency to universalise conceptions of dirt, arguing instead that the experience of filth is one that is individual, rooted in a specific time, place and in specific spatial, material and architectural contexts.

Architecture and sewage

The Crossness and Abbey Mills pumping stations — the largest of the four connected with London’s main drainage system — were, and still are, vital components of that system, largely built in the 1860s (Fig. 3) and masterminded by the engineer Joseph Bazalgette (1819–91). Located at strategic points within the new system of sewers that inter- cepted London’s waste before it reached and pol- luted the river Thames, these pumping stations raised sewage from low-lying areas of London in order that it would drain by gravitation into outfalls located outside the city limits at Barking, on the north side of the river, and Crossness, on the south. Compared to the restrained classicism seen in the smaller pumping stations at Deptford (1859–62)

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Figure 1. Anon., ‘Engine-house, Crossness: outfall of the southern metropolitan sewerage.’: wood- engraved print, Builder, 19th August, 1865, p. 591 (author’s collection).

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and Pimlico (1870–74), the architectural extrava- gance of Crossness and Abbey Mills is significant. Crossness (Fig. 4) is a stylistically eclectic building, combining Norman, mediaeval Italian and Flemish motifs. Clearly designed to impress, the engine- house included a cathedral-like main entrance, a striking campanile-like chimney (see Fig. 1; now demolished), and elaborate interior decorative iron- work, the centrepiece of which is the central octag- onal structure in a mixture of wrought and cast iron (see Fig. 4; upper right-hand side). The design features seen at Crossness are continued and devel- oped at Abbey Mills. Here, the decorative octagon is the building’s most striking architectural feature (see Fig. 2; upper image) and the internal ironwork is both more unified and more lavishly ornate than at Cross- ness (see Fig. 2; lower image). The original twin ven- tilation chimneys, richly ornamented and standing 212 feet high, gave this building a prominence that has consistently attracted public attention; today it still provides a focus for introducing the public to Bazalgette’s system. 5 To mark the completion of both buildings and the formal opening of the new sewers, the Illustrated London News depicted Crossness in 1865 (see Fig. 4) and Abbey Mills in 1868 (see Fig. 2) in the form of wood-engraved views of the contrasting exterior and interior spaces of both buildings. 6 Like other industrial building types in the Victorian period — railway stations, markets, factories and warehouses — pumping stations required large, undivided interior spaces that were only achievable through a structural use of iron, which was much stronger in compression than any traditional build- ing material; by contrast, because iron provided

build- ing material; by contrast, because iron provided the main internal structural support, the exterior of

the main internal structural support, the exterior of these buildings allowed for a more conventional sty- listic treatment in traditional building materials that often gave no visual indication of the building’s func- tion. In the case of Abbey Mills, this contrast is emphasised by the composition of the engravings

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2010 355 The Journal of Architecture Volume 12 Number 4 Figure 2. Page layout, Illustrated London

Figure 2. Page layout, Illustrated London News , 15th August, 1868, p. 161 (author’s collection).

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Figure 3. ‘Main drainage plan shewing main, intercepting, storm relief, and outfall sewers, pumping stations and outfall works.’; London County Council, 1939:

reproduction from original in Thames Water Archive, London with annotations by the author indicating the locations of the pumping stations at 1 Deptford; 2 Crossness; 3 Abbey Mills; 4 Western (reproduced by permission of Thames Water plc.).

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356 Architecture, ornament and excrement Paul Dobraszczyk in the Illustrated London News : one shows the

in the Illustrated London News : one shows the flam- boyant exterior (see Fig. 2; upper image), with its polychromatic fac¸ades in a mediaeval Venetian style, Mansard roof, striking central lantern, and Moorish chimneys; the other the interior (see Fig. 2; lower image) with its extraordinary decorative ironwork and parts of the enormous steam engines housed inside (seen in the left and right fore- ground). 7 As I have argued elsewhere, the design of both Crossness and Abbey Mills was a result of a partnership between Bazalgette — the engineer of the main drainage system as a whole — and an

architect, Charles Henry Driver (1832–1900), their input being focused on the functional and decora- tive aspects respectively. 8 However, despite the apparent disjunction between the exterior and interior of the buildings highlighted by the Illustrated London News, both, in fact, demonstrate a con- certed attempt, on the part of Driver, to achieve an overarching synthesis of contrasting elements:

the historical and the modern, decoration and func- tion; and outside and inside. What is clear from Driver’s architectural works as a whole, his publications, and from his treatment of

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2010 357 The Journal of Architecture Volume 12 Number 4 Figure 4. Page layout, Illustrated London

Figure 4. Page layout, Illustrated London News , 15th April, 1865, p. 341, frontispiece (author’s collection):

interior of Crossness’s engine-house showing the Prince of Wales turning the engines on.

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the interior ironwork at Crossness and Abbey Mills specifically, is that he viewed utility as a primary problem in relation to architecture, and its decora- tion as the solution. 9 For Driver, and many others in his field, utility possessed no meaning in itself:

that is, it lacked any aesthetic value required to make it ‘architectural’. 10 For Driver, a synthesis — by contrast or otherwise — of utility and decoration was an important part of his theoretical and practical approach to architecture. 11 In effect, at Crossness and Abbey Mills, Driver creates a hybrid style that synthesises a host of contrasting elements:

historical architectural forms (Italian, English, French, Moorish) and his own (seen most clearly in the forms that make up the exterior lantern); tra- ditional building materials (York stone and Suffolk brick) and new ones (wrought- and cast-iron). Para- doxically, such hybridism also breaks down any sense of a dichotomous relationship between decoration and utility that was later so vehemently stressed by Giedion. In particular, the elements of the interior ironwork at Abbey Mills seen in the Illustrated London News (see Fig. 2; lower image) — the columns, spandrels, brackets and railings — possess both a utilitarian and symbolic function; form and function are fused together in a controlled, if eccentric, form of synthesis. Indeed, for Driver, such synthesis represented a self-consciously modern treatment of iron, one that attempted to naturalise its artificial basis, and to give aesthetic meaning to utility.

Architecture and experience

One important feature of the depictions of Cross- ness and Abbey Mills in the Illustrated London

News are the figures seen scattered throughout the images: smartly-dressed male figures in the fore- ground of the interior of Crossness (see Fig. 4), diminutive working men outside Abbey Mills (see Fig. 2; upper image, lower background) or an equally inconspicuous woman perambulating its interior spaces (see Fig. 2; lower image, lower- centre background). In fact, all cross-sections of society, including Royalty, archbishops and parlia- mentarians, were present at the lavish opening cer- emonies held in Crossness and Abbey Mills on 4th April, 1865 and 31st July, 1868 respectively. 12 These events were designed to highlight the import- ance of subterranean technological development to dignitaries, sponsors and the wider London popu- lation who would eventually pay for the project. The presence of the press at these ceremonies rep- resented an important interface between those who conceived the project and those upon whom it impacted, whether in social, economic or psycho- logical terms. The voluminous press accounts of these cer- emonies gave expression to a range of responses to the new main drainage system: rationalised accounts of its technical details, drawn from Bazalgette’s own descriptions; paeans of wonder at its unprecedented scale and noble function; and disquiet at the monstrous quantities of sewage now discharged into the Thames. 13 One aspect that many of these depictions stress is the relation- ship between the architectural style of the buildings and their function: that is, the pumping of sewage. The ceremony at Crossness in 1865 in particular pro- voked strong reaction from the press. If, according to the Standard , an ‘enchanter’s wand’ had

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touched the whole site at Crossness, the interior of the engine-house (see Fig. 4) — with its elaborate, brightly-painted decorative ironwork and giant steam engines — was described as a ‘perfect shrine of machinery’. 14 According to the Daily News , the ‘beautiful octagon’ in the centre of the engine-house resembled the interior of a Byzantine church, with the shafts of the steam engines acting as ‘church galleries — the pulpit being sup- plied by the cylinder’. 15 Accounts of the Abbey Mills engine-house lacked such direct religious associations, but some of the articles did refer to the ‘tremendous engines’, 16 the ‘wonderful machin- ery’, 17 and a sense of ‘deep wonder and admiration’ at the sight of the lavish decorative ironwork. 18 The sense in which, according to the Daily Telegraph , the ‘factory becomes poetical’ and the ‘furnace, fairy- like’ strongly relates to the perceived reconciliation of the artistic and the useful in these spaces; put another way, the imbuing of the purely functional with symbolism normally reserved for religious build- ings made the prosaic seem magical. Such responses can also be situated within long- established notions of the sublime. First popularised in the mid-eighteenth century by writers and theor- ists such as Edmund Burke (1729–97), the sublime was defined as a strong emotional response, made up of a mixture of awe and terror, to vast or over- whelming natural or man-made objects. 19 In the nineteenth century, industrial spectacles were increasingly subject to sublime responses, whether seen in J. M. W. Turner’s painting Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railway (1844) or in responses to the Crystal Palace in 1851. 20 The cer- emonies at Crossness and Abbey Mills followed

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the established precedent of public events designed to highlight the sublimity of subterranean techno- logical projects, examples of which include the opening of the Thames Tunnel in 1827, a vast under- ground water reservoir at Croydon in 1851, and the Metropolitan Railway in 1863. 21 As David Pike has observed, the sense of the sublime in responses to subterranean technology represented a ‘dual rep- resentation of the new underground during the waning of the age of heroic engineering’ — that is, a mixture of a new idealised rational underground and an established sublime mode. 22 At Crossness and Abbey Mills, the press responses celebrated both rationalised technology and dream-like archi- tectural ornamentation; both are assimilated as sublime. However, other responses suggest a more complex interplay between the lavish architectural display and the sewage concealed in enormous cast-iron pipes beneath the sublime and ‘wonderful machinery’. As part of the ceremony at Crossness, visitors were invited to descend into the crypt-like space of part of its vast subterranean sewage reservoir (Fig. 5). Despite the temporary exclusion of the sewage and the dazzling lighting, some visitors felt distinct unease at the thought of being in such close proxi- mity to what the writer for the Daily Telegraph termed ‘the filthiest mess in Europe’ ready to ‘leap out like a black panther’ after the guests had left. 23 In the particular space of the subterranean reservoir, where even if the sewage was not visible it was however present in the imagination, monstrous associations were expressed. Indeed, the very magical quality of the architecture experienced in both the interior of the pumping station and in the

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Figure 5. Page layout, Illustrated London News , 15th April, 1865, p. 348 (author’s collection): interior of Crossness’s subterranean sewage reservoir.

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360 Architecture, ornament and excrement Paul Dobraszczyk reservoir only served to heighten monstrous counter-

reservoir only served to heighten monstrous counter- associations. In the subterranean reservoir, some experienced a temporary conflation of the normally polarised spatial categories of outside and inside, invaded by an unseen danger and placed ‘in the very jaws of peril, in the gorge of the valley of the shadow of death’, separated only by bolted iron gates from the ‘pent up and bridled in’ sewage. 24 Such a sense of monstrosity might, like the sublime, equally be part of an old mode of represen- tation of the underground — that is, as an organic

space intimately, yet grossly, connected to the body. 25 The attraction of repulsion experienced so strongly by this visitor was, like the sublime, another common trope in descriptions of nineteenth century industrial spectacles. 26 Yet, this ambivalent mode of experience did eventually give way to the new rationalising discourse. Three years after the ceremony at Crossness, at the similar event at Abbey Mills, visitors also wondered at the lavish dec- oration and vast machinery but in this case did not refer to any monstrous associations. Indeed, even

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when presented with the opportunity of inspecting the sewage pumps below ground, most of the visi- tors declined; 27 even the Daily Telegraph , whose cor- respondent had, three years earlier, been so rampant in his imaginative prose, gave little attention to these ‘noisome chambers far below’ the building’s lavish interior. 28 The dramatic experience of architecture and dirt at Crossness — simultaneously rational, sublime and monstrous — was not re-enacted in these spaces; instead, the majority of press accounts focused their attention on the technical detail of the building, often borrowing directly from Bazalgette’s own descriptive account of Abbey Mills that was dis- tributed to the visitors at the ceremony. 29 Providing no ‘wonder’ equivalent to Crossness’s subterranean reservoir, Bazalgette’s account instead directed visi- tors’ thoughts solely to the new vision of sewers that grounded them firmly within a rationalised con- ception. Indeed, Bazalgette made no mention at all of the lavish decoration provided by Driver, giving no clues to the visitors of its symbolic content.

Ornament and excrement

Despite Bazalgette’s rationalised account of Abbey Mills and visitors’ lack of interest in its ‘noisome chambers’, many still hoped for the realisation of one particular organic connection with sewage:

that is, its possible recycling as an agricultural fertili- ser. In both 1865 and 1868, anticipating the cer- emonies at Crossness and Abbey Mills, London’s leading newspapers — the Times , Standard and Daily News — published articles explaining Bazalgette’s main drainage system to their readers, contrasting it with the old sewers and cesspools it superseded. All praised the effectiveness of the

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new system in purifying the river Thames, transform- ing it from effectively a giant sewer into the ‘pleasant and silver stream’ of a former age. 30 However, in 1868, the local newspapers of Barking — the location where the entire sewage of north London was discharged into the river — not surpris- ingly highlighted the fact that the main drainage system had not fully purified the river; it had only transferred a colossal nuisance further downstream and ‘thrust it under [the] noses’ of others. For these unfortunate Barking residents, there was only one proper function for the sewage, ‘that is to irrigate the land with it’. 31 Enthusiasm for sewage utilisation was common in mid-Victorian Britain and was consistently put forward as a sol- ution to the problem of human waste disposal, bringing together economics and natural theology in a kind of cosmic circulatory ideal. 32 However, despite the presence of a 250-acre farm at Barking that experimented in utilising a small part of London’s sewage for the growing of grass, crops and fruit, plans for doing the same for all of the sewage came to nothing. 33 Nevertheless, visitors to Crossness and Abbey Mills still dreamed of its eventual transformation ‘into sweet milk and butter, or wholesome bread or beef’ rather than its wasteful flushing into the Thames. 34 If Bazalgette’s rationalised accounts of Crossness and Abbey Mills give no explanation for these associ- ations, it is not surprising if we, unlike Bazalgette, place them in their architectural context. Both the exteriors and interiors of the pumping stations feature superabundant decoration provided by Driver, with the conventionalised forms seen at Crossness (see Fig. 4, upper right), developed,

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Figure 6. Abbey Mills pumping station, 1865–68, engine- house, interior, railings in first-floor gallery (author’s photograph).

Figure 7. Abbey Mills pumping station, 1865–68, engine- house, exterior, part of carved frieze in east porch (photograph reproduced by permission of Quintin Lake).

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362 Architecture, ornament and excrement Paul Dobraszczyk at Abbey Mills, into an all-compassing naturalistic

at Abbey Mills, into an all-compassing naturalistic tour-de-force , comprising both horticultural symbols of purity, such as the extravagant cast-iron lilies in the interior (Fig. 6), and also agricultural motifs, such as hops and berries seen in the exterior frieze (Fig. 7). The presence of agricultural motifs in particular suggests the possibility that here Driver might be positing a more direct correlation between sewage and natural abundance. As sup- porting evidence, in a lecture given to the Society of Mechanical and Civil Engineers in 1878, Driver surprisingly calls into question the design of Bazal- gette’s main drainage system, which he viewed as making impossible the recycling of the London sewage as an agricultural fertiliser. 35 The fact that Driver continued to assert the recycling imperative at this moment — long after most had given up hope of this ever being achieved for London’s sewage — suggests that for him this was a strongly held view. Consequently, those visitors to Abbey Mills who made connections between sewage and natural abundance may have done so partly as a result of the architect’s direct intentions. It might

as a result of the architect’s direct intentions. It might even be suggested that Driver’s decorative

even be suggested that Driver’s decorative scheme at Abbey Mills proposes not only a new style for architecture, uniting the fragmentary disciplines of engineering and art, but also a new way of living for a new civilisation, based on the transformation of man and his wastes.

Conclusion

Alongside the cases of Abbey Mills and Crossness pumping stations, Loos’s and Giedion’s equating of ornament with excrement, outlined in the Introduc- tion, seems crudely reductive. Both employ negative associations of dirt to exclude whatever they regard as antithetical to a new and ‘clean’ vision of architec- ture, stripped of historical associations and universal in its form and meaning. This highlights not only that architecture and dirt can be configured in a positive relationship, but also the essential fiction of univer- salising meanings of dirt. As the responses of those who visited Crossness and Abbey Mills demonstrate, the experience of filth is one that is individual:

rooted in a specific time, place and in specific

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spatial, material and architectural contexts. If one consequence of this understanding is to prevent any systematisation of the meanings of dirt, then another is to open up of the multiplicity of personal encounters with it in time and space. The Crossness and Abbey Mills pumping stations are buildings where the relationship between architecture and filth is explicitly articulated: whether from the engin- eer’s, architect’s or visitors’ perspectives.

Notes and references

1. A. Loos, ‘Ornament and Crime’, in, A. Opel, ed., Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays (Riverside, California, Ariadne Press, 1998), pp. 167–76.

2. S. Giedion, Building in France, Building in Iron, Build- ing in Ferro-Concrete (Santa Monica, Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1928), pp. 99, 132.

3. I have analysed the architectural significance of Abbey Mills in extensive detail in ‘Historicizing iron:

Charles Driver and the Abbey Mills pumping station (1865–68)’, Architectural History, 49 (2006), pp.

223–56.

4. On the engineering function of the pumping stations, see J. Bazalgette, ‘On the main drainage of London:

and the interception of the sewage from the River Thames’, Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers , 24 (1865), pp. 280–314. I examine press responses to the pumping stations in my forth- coming chapter, ‘“Monster sewers”: experiencing London’s main drainage system’, in, N. Scott, ed., At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries (Amsterdam and New York, Rodopi, 2007).

5. The chimneys were removed in 1940, reputedly to prevent their use as navigation aids by German bombers, but more likely for the safety of the pumping station in the event of an air attack.

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Thames Water plc’s annual ‘Open Sewers Week’ uses Abbey Mills as a focal point for both a sewer visit and a lecture on the history (and future) of London’s sanitary development.

6.

Illustrated London News , 15th April, 1865, p. 341 and 15th August, 1868, p. 161.

7.

The Builder also depicted the exterior of Crossness on 19th August, 1865, p. 591.

8.

P.

A. Dobraszczyk, ‘Historicizing iron’, op. cit. ,

pp. 234–36.

9.

For a comprehensive listing of Driver’s architectural projects see ‘Obituary: Mr. C. H. Driver’, Journal of

the Royal Institute of British Architects , 7 (1900),

p.

22; Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of

Civil Engineers , 143 (1900), pp. 423–24; and Builder, 10th November, 1900, pp. 423–24.

10.

K. Carls and J. Schmeichen, The British Market Hall: a Social and Architectural History (London and New Haven, Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 51–53.

11.

Important examples of Driver’s theoretical approach can be found in C. Driver, ‘Engineering, its effects upon Art’, Transactions of the Civil and Mechanical Engineers’ Society (1874), pp. 3–12; and C. Driver, ‘On iron as a constructive material’, RIBA Transactions First Series , 25 (1875), pp. 165–83.

12.

The Prince of Wales attended the ceremony at Cross- ness and the Duke of Edinburgh was invited to Abbey Mills, as well as many Members of Parliament and other important dignitaries. In the event, Cross- ness was the higher-profile event, due to the Parlia- mentary recess and the unavailability of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1868. Six hundred guests attended the ceremony at Crossness; that at Abbey Mills took place on the same day as the opening of the Victoria Embankment, a project concurrent with and con- nected to the main drainage system. Visits to Abbey Mills also continued after the main ceremony: during the following fortnight, representatives from

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London’s vestries visited the pumping station in a suc- cession of organised tours.

13. I explore these responses in greater detail in my forth- coming paper ‘“Monster sewers”: experiencing London’s main drainage system’, op. cit.

14. Times, 5th April, 1865, p. 5: ‘Opening of the main drai- nage’.

15. Daily News , 5th April, 1865, p. 5: ‘Opening of the metropolitan main drainage works by the Prince of Wales’.

16. Times, 31st July, 1868, p. 12: ‘The Thames Embank- ment’.

17. Observer, 2nd August, 1868, p. 3: ‘Thames Embank- ment and Abbey Mills pumping station’.

18. Standard , 31st July, 1868, p. 3: ‘Opening of the Thames Embankment footway’.

19. Burke’s influential essay, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, first published in 1757, set out in a series of categories the characteristics of the sublime and what might induce it. Subsequent literature on the sublime is enormous in its scope: for introductions to the sublime and aesthetics see W. J. Hipple, The Beautiful, the Sublime and the Pic- turesque in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetic Theory (Carbondale, Illinois, Southern Illinois University Press, 1957) and A. Ashfield and P. de Bolla, eds, The Sublime: a Reader in British Eighteenth-Century Aes- thetic Theory (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996). For a contemporary assessment of the sublime see, for example, C. McMahon, Reframing the Theory of the Sublime: Pillars and Modes (Lewiston, Edwin Mellen, 2004).

20. On Turner and the sublime, see A. Wilton, Turner and the Sublime (London, British Museum, 1980). For an exemplary reading of the Crystal Palace as sublime, see the Illustrated London News , 3rd May, 1851, pp. 343–44: ‘The Great Exhibition’ and pp. 348–49:

‘The opening of the Great Exhibition’.

21. On the opening of the Thames Tunnel, see R. Trench and E. Hillman, London under London: a Subterranean Guide (London, John Murray, 1984), p. 111; on the Croydon reservoir and the Metropolitan Railway, see the Illustrated London News , 20th December, 1851, pp. 725–26: ‘Opening of the Croydon water works’ and 17th January, 1863, pp. 73–74: ‘Opening of the Metropolitan Railway’.

22. D. Pike, Subterranean Cities: the World Beneath London and Paris, 1800 –1945 (Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, 2005), pp. 219–20.

23. Daily Telegraph , 5th April, 1865, p. 2: ‘Opening of the main drainage by the Prince of Wales’.

24. Ibid.

25. Pike, Subterranean Cities , op. cit. , pp. 8–12.

26. A collection of accounts that exemplify the attraction of repulsion can be found in R. Allen, The Moving Pageant: A Literary Sourcebook on London Street- Life, 1700 –1914 (London and New York, Routledge, 1998), pp. 105–63.

27. East London Observer, 8th August, 1868, p. 5: ‘Visita- tion of Abbey Mills pumping station’.

28. Daily Telegraph , 31st July, 1868, p. 2: ‘Opening of the Thames Embankment footway’.

29. J. Bazalgette, A Short Descriptive Account of the Thames Embankment and of the Abbey Mills Pumping Station (London, Metropolitan Board of Works, 1868). Much of the long article published in the Times after the ceremony on 31st July, 1868 (p. 12, ‘The Thames Embankment’) was directly copied from Bazalgette’s account; this article formed the basis for most of the other press cover- age of the event.

30. Standard , 4th April, 1865, p. 5: ‘The southern outfall’; and 31st July, 1868, p. 3.

31. Essex Times and Romford Telegraph , 12th August, 1868, p. 4: leader; and Stratford Express , 1st August, 1868, p. 4: leader.

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32. C. Hamlin, ‘Providence and Putrefaction: Victorian Sanitarians and the Natural Theology of Health and Disease’, in, P. Brantlinger, ed., Energy & Entropy:

Science and Culture in Victorian Britain (Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Press, 1989), pp. 92–123. 33. On the proposals for the utilisation of London’s sewage, see S. Halliday, The Great Stink of London:

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Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis (Stroud, Sutton, 1999), pp. 108–23.

34. Daily News , 4th April, 1865, p. 4: leader.

35. C. Driver, ‘Presidential address’, Minutes of Proceed- ings of the Civil and Mechanical Engineers Society, 522 (1879), pp. 6–7.