The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

My First Sewer – March 2010

with 7 comments

Having not been much of a sewer-rat since picking up this Urbex hobby/lifestyle/affliction, its been over 3 years since seeing pictures of the London Sewers and actually getting down there. Having always put it off in place of chasing asylums and local sites, the underground has grabbed me a little more having visited the Catacombs in Paris, and as such I made arrangements to get down under London for once.

I met up with Gary, Nebba, Chris and Patch and prepared ourselves for entry, Gary duck taping bing bags around his legs and wellies to waterproof them. The rest of us had waders… Nebba had brought a broompole for balance which was initially dubbed the Gandalf stick, and much piss taking ensued before we realised that poo is slippery and yes, it wasn’t a bad idea. I picked up my own sewer schlong on the way and was thankful for it.

We entered the River Tyburn via a manhole which led us down 30 foot of ladders and into an egg shaped tunnel without much of a flow. This led to some features including the stoop, a section of two four-foot tall circular passages, where one must stoop for a few minutes of walking, hence the name. There were a couple of junctions, a fair number of feeds into the tunnel, and regular manholes of differing type. We eventually ended up in the wider tunnel pictured above.

As we went further down the tunnel the flow increased and walking back up became more and more difficult. Eventually we reached some steps where the water flowed down heavily with something of a roar, so we called it a day and exited after about and hour and a half of slow and steady walking. Being my first draining experience, I didn’t get the camera out until the end when we were ready to exit, but am looking forwards to the next opportunity where I can spend more time trying to light this brick beauty without a flashgun…  Next time, expect rats, junctions, features and waterfalls. Maybe even some poo?

Written by Winch

March 28th, 2010 at 3:00 am

Posted in Drains

Tagged with , , ,

7 Responses to 'My First Sewer – March 2010'

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  1. Yeah – so pro! I love it. Nice pic as well for a last minute afterthought.

    Bradley Garrett

    29 Mar 10 at 9:45 pm

  2. Winch – apparently we’re all very naughty boys, and aren’t allowed to explore this particular sewer because another group of people did it first and don’t like it that we’re ruining their “exclusiveness”. Ah well, back to soggy asylums for us! 😉


    30 Mar 10 at 2:53 pm

  3. Damn, lets go and explore Hellingly instead again.


    30 Mar 10 at 3:07 pm

  4. Whomever the ‘other group’ of people are that you say are grumbling, I can’t imagine they’re drainers? Your typical dedicated drain explorer doesn’t harbour much of a care for exclusivity or one-up-man-ship. If there was any grumbling to be done here it would more likely be in relation to people climbing into manholes in central London wearing wellingtons with bin liners duck taped to them!

    I’m all for people exploring drains, but when it comes to London attention should be duly given to the potentially detrimental effect that being negligent of an appearance of legitimacy could have. If people start to notice clutches of three or four guys, with back packs on, and bin liners taped to their legs, jumping down manholes, it could raise the awareness of local authorities and have the knock-on effect of drawing attention to most anyone accessing covers.

    Where London’s concerned the best course of action is to adopt the policy of hiding in plain sight.

    Finally, it’s a nice drain hey. 🙂


    30 Mar 10 at 8:08 pm

  5. Good point made there, perhaps going over the top in pretence of legitimacy is the way forwards. Hi-vis and helmets a step too far?



    31 Mar 10 at 10:21 am

  6. Hi-vis and hard hats are a minimum must-have for London drains if the long-term prospect is to be able to continue exploring them largely unhindered. I’m sure you’re aware that you’re average member of the public barely even notices a hi-vis, hard hat wearing ‘workman’ loitering by a manhole, and even less so pays them any attention. Cut to the same scenario with a guy wearing a back pack, waders and a hoodie . . among the many who would have walked right by in the former circumstance, there’s gonna be some who’ll be paying more attention to the guy in the later scene.

    It’s ‘not’ a case of London drains being inaccessible without looking legitimate, so much as if we’re hoping to keep them low profile and explorable in the long term then a hi-vis and hard hat will go some way to helping that.

    Those are the occasions where you’re genuine drain explorer is going to get narked, when people appear to be giving no thought to screwing things up for future visitors, so long as they got to do what they wanted.

    I hope you can see that this is not a rant or argumentative response, just that I’m trying to convey the importance of foresight in relation to London drain exploration.


    31 Mar 10 at 6:48 pm

  7. Not at all, I’m with you all the way on this. It’s definitely worthwhile having the discussion and raising these issues, if only to make others aware of protocol when it comes to doing this.



    1 Apr 10 at 2:32 am

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