4. The response to the Great Stink was epic – 1,100 miles of new sewers and a network of huge pumping stations
Bazalgette’s new sewerage system was a marvel of Victorian engineering. In all, some 1,100 miles of additional sewers were constructed under the streets of London. These would collect both rainwater and waste and then channel both into a further 82 miles of main, interconnecting sewers. Bazaglette not only used the latest ideas, above all, he made full use of extra-strong Portland cement, but he also used common sense for his system. For instance, his tunnels were designed in such a way that simple gravity would do most of the work, taking waste out far out of the city.
Inevitably, the plans went over budget. Some 400 draftsmen were employed to work on the designs and then thousands of day laborers were brought in to build the tunnels and the pumping stations. The Prime Minister approved an additional Â£1.2 million in funding, bringing the total up past the Â£4 million mark, making this one of the most expensive engineering projects ever carried out, not just in England but anywhere in Europe.