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24 FebFlushing with pride: HRH Prince Charles Visits London’s Super Sewer

His Royal Highness Prince Charles, heir to the throne, recently toured the newly-constructed Lee Tunnel, which holds the honour of being London’s deepest sewer.

Charles donned a bright orange hi-vis and hard hat over his usual pinstriped suit as he was shown around by a group of engineers who all worked on the tunnel’s construction.

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75 metres below the surface of London the Lee Tunnel is an incredible seven km long, seven metres wide and cost a staggering £635m to build.

The tunnel was built to put an end to leakage from London’s overworked Victorian sewer system, which is causing 39 million tonnes of waste to leak into the Thames every year.

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Prince Charles was also shown around the Abbey Mills pumping station which sits next to the Lee tunnel and was built as part of London’s original sewer system in 1865.

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Opened by Charles’ great-great-grandfather Edward VII 150 years ago the Victorian sewer system was designed and built as a response to The Great Stink of 1858, caused by the wholesale dumping of waste in the river Thames.

The Great Stink was so bad that Benjamin Disraeli, then Prime Minister, called the Thames ‘a Stygian pool, reeking with ineffable and intolerable horrors’

If you want to know a bit more about the history of blocked drains London, have a look here, where we cover the Great Stink and London’s response in a bit more detail.

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