Taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. Joseph William Bazalgette (1819-1891), a civil engineer was appointed chief engineer to the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1856. At this time the Thames was grosly polluted and disease was at epidemic proportions so his first task was to devise a scheme for the drainage of London. Bazalgette designed and built the London sewerage system between 1858 and 1866. The Abbey Mills pumping station was built in the Byzantine style and originally contained eight Cornish beam engines which lifted the sewage before it was pumped on to the treatment works at Beckton.
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