A Brief History of London’s Drain Systems

London’s drainage system as we see it today is incredibly different from what it once was. A key part of the water infrastructure that serves the vast majority of Greater London and is operated by Thames Water, the sewage system was once the cause of disease and destruction as human waste was unloaded directly into the river.

Before it was redesigned by respected architect Joseph Balzagette, in the early 19th Century it resulted in 1000s of people across the capital contracting diseases such as cholera as the River Thames acted as an open sewer. An event also known as the Great Stink, the hot weather exacerbated the smell of human waste throughout the city, making it an unbearable place to live – no matter what class you were of.

The contamination of the water alongside proposals made in the early 1700s were some of the reasons as to why the need for it to be redesigned became so prevalent. It was, however, delayed until the influential Metropolitan Board of Works was created in 1856 due to the costs associated with the construction. The costs and proposals to modernise the drainage system, weren’t, however, agreed by parliament until after the horrific Great Stink of 1858.

As gravity resulted in the sewage flowing towards the east, located such as Deptford, Abbey Mills and Chelsea required an additional installation. Pumping stations were created to help provide sufficient flow and to raise water levels.

The Impact of Joseph Bazalgette

As mentioned above, Joseph Bazalegette was an architect who helped to redesign the London drainage system. But he was also the chief engineer in the Metropolitan Board of Works in the mid to late 19th Century and had an incredibly significant impact on the design and effect of the drainage system. Directly improving its appearance, as well as resulting in an improvement in the health of London’s residents, his actions are an important part of London’s history.

Joseph Bazalgette was elected as chief engineer, supervising public works in an extraordinary way across the city. By 1866, London’s drainage system was transformed to include a series of connected sewer networks which was devised by Bazalgette himself. Diverting the water from the underground rivers and sewers to low-level sewers built behind the embankments, before the waste ended up in the Thames Estuary, it was an incredible and drastic change that was much overdue.

In 1870, the Victoria and Albert Embankments were opened. These were designed to replace the Thames shore which was once only tidal mud with the reclaimed and supportive ground. Protecting the low-level sewers, underground railway and service subway, it was a welcome addition that kickstarted an array of other embankments being built – such as the Chelsea Embankment which was completed four years later.

London’s Drain System Today

We no longer have to worry as much about drainage as we once did. The chance of an event such as the Great Stink is, most likely, a thing of the past which won’t happen again. Throughout the 20th Century, major improvements to the drainage system continued to occur which in turn reduced the pollution that began to occur in the North Sea and the Thames Estuary.

Proposals for projects such as the Thames Tideway Scheme is underway to increase the capacity of London’s sewage system. As the population grows, as does the need for improvements to the structure. And this development is just one of the steps needed to keep up with the demand for an efficient and fully-functional sewerage system in the capital.

Now something that we take for granted, it is fascinating to discover the history of the drainage system and how it has transformed over the years thanks to innovative minds such as Joseph Bazalgette.

Blocked Drains London 

Even though blocked drains might not seem as big of a worry in the present day, it is something that still occurs. At Quick Clear Drainage we work on fixing any blocked drain issues that occur throughout the city. Experts in drainage London, we have years of experience with London drains and understand the need to effectively fix the issue as quickly as possible.

As soon as you notice a drainage issue, whether it is within your business or home, get in contact with us and we will be on hand to help. If you have a blocked toilet or sink, we are your first port of call every time. Using our expertise and state-of-the-art technology, we offer a high-quality service that’s affordable and efficient. A trusted company that puts our customers first, we have an array of glowing reviews on Google.

Want to find out more about the drainage services we offer? Give us a call today on 0203 633 3897 or by email on [email protected].

Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash.

The Importance Of Drain Maintenance For London Businesses

When trying to keep your business afloat, making a profit and keeping customers satisfied are always at the top of the list. In fact, the less savoury thought of dealing with your drainage system often comes later. However, it’s a vital part of the whole operation especially with businesses that generate quite a lot of waste. It’s equally an environmental requirement that should never be overlooked. 

With the above said, when analysing the drainage system in big cities like London, they sometimes struggle to meet the needs of a growing population. So, it’s needed for everyone to do their part. Despite the clear importance of drainage maintenance, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of interpersonal dealings. To keep you informed and on top of the game, here’s why it’s vital to employ professionals to maintain your business’ drainage system in London.


1. Drain Hygiene


Maintaining proper hygiene is a necessity regardless of the type of business you run. Whether a restaurant, a pub or even a corner shop, it’s a lot more appealing to walk into a clean space. It’s not just for customers, but you need to ensure that your employees work in a health-conscious environment. You see, if you have blocked drains in your place of work, it automatically becomes a festering point for bacteria. It does not end there, as the clog gains more ground the dirty water begins to pool and come right back up. 

One thing is for sure, you do not want to be the face behind the blocked drain London and other parts of the UK can’t keep quiet about. Concretebergs and the likes weren’t formed in a day, it takes consistent negligence. So, getting in touch with a drainage engineer on a regular is paramount to maintaining proper hygiene in your place of work.


2. Staying On Top Of Leakages


By now, it should be evident that clogs are the main result when drain maintenance is neglected. The longer you leave clogs in there, the more damage they can cause over time. If the trapped water doesn’t travel up, it’s definitely going to look for other avenues to escape. In the case that your pipes are not quite strong enough to hold their own, that water is going to drill right through. 

The water that escapes will end up flowing and dripping, so you could end up with leaks in the most inconvenient places, Whether you own a restaurant or an office building, the inconvenience is pretty much the same. It’s best not to even get to the point where you need to manage the problem, rather, get your pipes checked regularly.


3. Odours and Smells


We’ve all been to places where the smell overshadows our need to shop, eat or mingle. That’s all as a result of drains that have been left unattended to. Anywhere there’s dirty water pooling, there is bound to be odour-causing bacteria. These smells are often not only as a result of stagnant water but actually the lack thereof. When you leave your pipes to dry out, the bad odours stick instead of moving along. 

The bottom line is that it’s a lose-lose situation if you do not make plans to get your drainage checked on a regular basis. The smell is not only unhygienic, but it’s also equally disruptive and can end up chasing potential customers away. That alone should be reason enough to do a lot more than snake the drain when you notice a blockage.


4. Unproductivity


Regardless of the line of business you are in, employees and their productivity go a long way. If your employees do not feel safe or comfortable at work, there will be consequences. Even more, if problems with your drainage get in the way of their work, you could end up in a fix. For instance, if you run a pub and the staff in the back cannot adequately wash glasses and tumblers, business activities may come to a halt. Even more, they probably won’t be able to trust that they are operating in a sanitary environment, you shouldn’t either. 

Equally, if you own a convenience store and the clogs in the drainage are causing unsavoury smells, then your workers will be at the frontline. If they don’t want to be there, the truth of the matter is that your customers won’t want to stick around either. So, rather than sitting around and waiting for the day, everything starts crumbling down, get ahead of it and have a professional check it out. 


5. Blocked Drains Cost Money


Any entrepreneur can testify to the fact that businesses don’t run on oxygen and goodwill. It takes a whole lot of money to make money. Blocked pipes and leakages can end up taking a whole lot of time and money to rectify. If you are not keen on spending a truckload of money on massive repairs, make plans ahead of time. In fact, get a hold of your drainage plans and get right in there before anything turns up. 

Signing up for a commercial drain maintenance plan is a solid way to ensure that your pipes don’t end up sucking the life out of your business. With a little money up front, you end up saving a lot more down the line. That money can be channelled into other areas, so remember ‘penny wise, pound foolish’. 

In Conclusion

London is one of the most populated cities in the world, that is bound to tell a whole lot on the drainage system. For businesses that bring in a lot of footfall, their drainage needs are quite tasking. So far, it should be evident that the consequences of not remaining on top of this situation are dire. It can lead to serious health hazards and even end up chasing potential and present customers away. 

If you already have some issues with your drainage system, it’s not so late to get on top of it. At the end of the day, it’s important not to ever let things get out of hand for the sake of your business. For some friendly advice or to arrange a quote for a commercial drain maintenance plan for your London business, get in touch with Quick Clear Drainage.