Over the past few weeks, my Sunday evenings have been delighted by the presence of Jeremy Paxman presenting a TV series on The Victorians, looking at the history of that era through the art it inspired.

Wonderful stuff and more of the same please.

Anyhow, last night also included a visit to the awesome Crossness pumping station in deepest South-East London.

The pumping station is one of those amazing Victorian buildings which have a very mundane municipal function – in this case, pumping sewerage up from an underground sewer and dumping into the river – but had lavish decoration applied to the structure.

Neglected for quite a while, the building is now being restored, and they have one out of four steam engines fully working again – and are working on the rest thanks to a Lottery grant.

To get a flavour of what the place looks like – you can use the BBC’s iPlayer and skip ahead to 21 minutes – and if that excites you, the details to visit the place yourself are below.

The place is open to visitors either by pre-booking for most weekends – or on open days where you can just turn up and they will have the mighty Prince Consort pumping engine in full steam.

Sunday 26th April which will focus on the engineering aspects of the giant rotative beam engines that powered the pumps

Sunday 21st June when the theme will be aimed at the Young at Heart with displays of interest to those from age 8 to 80.

Sunday 23 rd August looking to the future with improved visitor facilities and more restored Engines.


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