Abbey Mills Pumping Station

Coordinates: 51°31′51″N 0°00′03″W / 51.5307°N 0.000835°W / 51.5307; -0.000835

The original Abbey Mills Pumping Station, in Abbey Lane, London E15, is a sewerage pumping station, designed by engineer Joseph Bazalgette, Edmund Cooper, and architect Charles Driver. It was built between 1865 and 1868. It was designed in a cruciform plan, with an elaborate Byzantine style, described as The Cathedral of Sewage. It has a twin, Crossness Pumping Station, south of the River Thames at Crossness, at the end of the Southern Outfall Sewer.


The pumping station was built at the site of an earlier watermill owned by the local Abbey, from which it gained its name


The pumps raised the sewage in the London sewerage system between the two Low Level Sewers and the Northern Outfall Sewer, which was built in the 1860s to carry the increasing amount of sewage produced in London away from the centre of the city.

Two Moorish styled chimneys – unused since steam power had been replaced by electric motors in 1933 – were demolished during the Second World War, as they were a landmark for German bombers on raids over the London docks.

The building still houses electric pumps – to be used in reserve for the new facility next door.

The main building is grade II* listed and there are many grade II listed ancillary buildings, including the stumps of the demolished chimneys.

The modern pumping station

The modern pumping station (Station F) was designed by architects Allies and Morrison. The old building (Station A) has electrical pumps for use as a standby; the modern station is one of the three principal London pumping stations dealing with foul water.

One of world's largest installation of drum screens to treat sewage was constructed as part of the Thames Tideway Scheme. The site is managed and operated by Thames Water.

Lea tunnel

Thames Water are boring a sewage tunnel from Abbey Mills to Beckton Sewage Works to handle the 16 million tons of overflow sewage that is discharged into the River Lea each year . Construction is expected to be completed in 2013, and the tunnel boring machine's name, 'Busy Lizzie', was chosen via a competition open to local school children.


Abbey Mills derives its name from the site of Stratford Langthorne Abbey, which lay between the Channelsea River and Marsh Lane (Manor Road). The Abbey was dissolved in 1538. By 1840, the North Woolwich railway ran through the site, and it began to be used to establish factories, and ultimately the sewage pumping stations.

As a film location

The pumping station (Station A) was used as the location for the "Cosy Prisons" video shoot by Norwegian pop band a-ha on 4 March 2006, and also represented Arkham Asylum in the 2005 film Batman Begins.