Dark, smelly and not high enough to walk in without stooping, the access to Last Bastion is a five foot diameter sewer pipe which eventually diverts to the Northern Low Level sewer. Upon passing the diversion, there is perhaps fifty metres of ankle deep half sludge, half shit, which is amongst the most unpleasant sections of sewer I’ve had the pleasure of navigating.
Perhaps this is a good opportunity to describe what being in a sewer is actually like. Instead of the stench of fedit shit that one would assume would be present, the odour is more a stagnating cocktail of human effluent, cooking fat, mud, silt, sick, and above all, loads of waste water that’s come out of sinks, bathtubs, showers and washing machines. It’s really not that bad. The walls tend to be lined with spots of brown goo, but it’s just the residue from when the sewer was last full.
The ladders and handrails that one utilises when in a sewer tend to be covered in wet toilet paper that has attached during high levels, but it’s worth forgetting this and just getting on with the job in hand.
Being pre Bazalgette, the sewer had some various oddities such as rectangular staircases set into circular pipes, allowing cascades of water from local branch sewers which fed the main pipe. Despite the occassional sprayed concrete over what were assumedly ‘at risk’ areas of the sewer, the rest was glorious, pre-baz brick.
I’d made a trip earlier in the year with Katie, providing her with her first drain experience. With the journey to the good bits as odorous as it was, I’m not surprised she hasn’t returned.
I’d consider Last Bastion to be one of the more interesting sewers in London due to it’s irregular construction, inclusion of other sections of the London Bridge sewer network, and the fact it’s bang under the financial district of London.