Monday, February 06, 2012

Sewers of north London

Text with below video:

the sewers of north London photographed like never before!

underground explorers and drain men par excellence are Jon Doe and St00p - their photo's speak for themselves.

even though they appear well-lit remember these areas are pitch dark and as dangerous as they could be. Jon Doe has light-painting techniques that enables the brickwork of Joseph Bazelgette to stand out as if they were lit by overhead lights.

Joseph Bazelgette was the civil engineer who was tasked with improving the city's health so he constructed these massive sewerage pipes for the removal of the dirty and foul water from the homes and streets of north London down to intercepting sewers which ran either side of the River Thames in an attempt to intercept the flows and direct it down towards the edge of the city where it was either pumped out to sea treated or the solids put into special barges and dumped in the North Sea.

In places it seems like MC Escher himself designed some of the weirs pen-stocks and drop-shafts - a hundred plus years on and the brickwork is still good. The majority of the pictures are taken down and along the Fleet sewer which basically runs from Hampstead down through Kentish Town where it meets an Intercepting sewer known to the cognoscenti as Heavy Metal (in the Holloway area) and from here it runs under Kings Cross and through some extraordinary tunnels and portals in the Farringdon area. There's also some pictures of the King Scholars Pond sewer in the St Johns Wood area which would have been the course of the old river Westborne. It's a fascinating world down there if you know what you are doing. I've followed the work and explorations of Jon Doe for a few years and whilst I don't know him personally I've shared emails with him on the subject. He and his colleagues plan these trips meticulously with all the necessary precautions being observed even if some photo's don't show these precautions (gas monitors, ropes, special radios and the like).

obviously, thanks go to Jon Doe and St00p for putting their photographic explorations out there for us all to see, thanks JD.

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