Coloured lithograph and letterpres invitation, showing an illustration of the pumping station. In the early 19th century, London suffered from serious problems of pollution to its water supply, which was largely drawn from the Thames, leading to a several serious cholera outbreaks. In 1858, the Metropolitan Board of Works and its chief engineer, Joseph Bazalgette, were charged by Parliament with the task of remedying the situation. Some 85 miles of new sewers were built, with the objective of discharging effluent into the Thames much further downriver than previously. This required the construction of several new pumping stations, including one at Crosnes, Greenwich, which was officially opened by the Prince of Wales on 4th April 1865.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library