24th September 2023 by emmadurnford

24th September 2023

It was a prompt start today as before we set off to France, I had spotted rather unusual open day at a place called Crossness Water works. This is one of the original Bazalgette places created to address the cholera outbreak and the 1858 ‘Great Stink’ of London. What I had not quite realised was exactly how long it would take us to get there as it was almost half of the M25 and then the A2 towards the Thames - even further east than th eThames Barrier. We got there just after 11.00am and were lucky to secure the second from last parking space in a crowded car park. There was a faint whiff in the air as we caught the little train (named Bazalgette) towards Crossness.

The entire place is run by a large team of very knowledgeable volunteers. We stopped for a cup of tea (we had bought a picnic as well) and then queued up to be given a hard hat and protective glasses so that we could finally enter the pumping room where we were lucky to see one of the 4-pumps (only restored one) - the Prince Consort - steamed up and pumping up and down. It as very impressive as was the restored and painted wrought ironwork. We climbed staircases to the top of the building although the fact that I could see through the flooring made me feel quite worried.

It is an amazing place and I’m really pleased that it has been preserved with Grade 1 listed status. It was at this point after exchanging many jokey texts about where we were that Mum texted to say that Ian had been taken ill and she had taken him to hospital and was worried that it could be a heart attack. Oh no. There were pauses and then rapid exchanges of texts ver the next few hours as Mum waited and Ian had many tests. He has very low blood pressure but the outcome was that it does not appear to have been a heart attack and he was released from hospital a number of hours later. This did take the edge of our visit as I worried about the outcome but we still managed a picnic in the car park - too whiffy to eat sandwiches back at the pumping station as although it is no longer used, Thames Water have massive new sewage plant right next door!

Before we braved the long journey back again, Colin got in touch with his ex sister-in-law Barbara and her husband Gerry who has been very ill - it turns out they only live about twenty minutes from Crossness. We dropped by for a cup of tea and a chat and just as well as Gerry does look very poorly and had two carers arrive during our visit. I do hope he improves - he still has a sense of humour.

Back on the road again for the complicated junction of the A2 with the M25 and it was nearly two hours before we got home again but at least it was dry unlike our last long drive.
Leave a Comment
Sign up for a free account or Sign in to post a comment.