Digging London’s sewer system

Victorian illustration to download showing the start of the construction of London’s sewer system in 1859. Navvies dig a large trench and remove the excavated earth to spoil heaps using wheelbarrows. This scene was sketched in Victoria Park, E London. Raw sewage used to flow directly into the River Thames. The engineer Joseph Bazalgette (1819-91) had designed a sewage system for London in the 1850s, and the ‘Great Stink’ of 1858 spurred on its construction.