Our mission is to find, map, photograph and catalogue every stinkpipe in the Greater London area, though out of London is welcome too. Please send your stinkpipe pics here or to stinkpipes@gmail.com Twitter: @stinkpipes Holder of 6Music's Geek of the Week accolade, 1st October 2011

Saturday, 17 December 2011

River Quaggy & apology

Various factors including a knee injury, pressure of work, etc, have prevented me from pursuing stinkpipes during the last few months.
I have a few different bits of London to visit including Clapham, Chiswick, Hampstead. And I still have archived sightings to place on the map. All this should happen over Xmas as I have many many days off work with little else to do, apart from my tax return. so as a displacement activity expect the Stinkpipes site to update rapdily before the end of January.

In the meantime, although not strictly stinkpipes, I do consider exporation of London's lost or hidden water-ways to be well within our remit. So here's an interesting video.

From the youTube site:

Internal Networkz is the first in a series of video documentaries exploring the capitols connecting wild corridors, such as its rivers and train lines. In this first volume, the viewer comes with us on a journey as we explore the path of the river Quaggy. We pick up the route at its end, where it flows into the River Ravensbourne at Lewisham Train Station. We follow it where it passes underground at the police station and on, through suburban parks and the backs of houses through south east london. 
Unknown to us at the time, as we traveled up river, riots came to the streets of Lewisham. We keep to the river and slip through the world above us unnoticed. 
We explore and study the secret markings left under bridges. We look for links and clues of London's underground legends and mythologies. In particular, for traces of 'The Lewisham Natureman', a mysterious character from South East London 'Graff' folklore. He has never been seen and only appears through the tiny symbol [often carved] which can be found in the wild corners and corridors of the capitol, mainly in Lewisham and her surrounding boroughs. The symbol is that of a crown, formed from a circle of figures holding hands [like the crown used in the logo of Lewisham borough] , with a single dandelion growing through it. 
Some say he is not a man at all but some kind of spirit of nature. A contemporary, urban Green Man or Herne, who walks in these wild places where the weeds grow. 

The small tag has also been linked to another figure in local street folklore; Solomon Wild. 
Solomon is believed to be some kind of urban explorer / amateur scientist of London's wild cracks, he is thought to be conducting a ongoing study into The Lewisham Natureman legend. But some believe the two are in fact the same person and Solomon is the one leaving these tags. Either in attempt to propagate the myth, keeping it alive and fake his own results. Another version describes Solomon as not a scientist but as a vagrant herbalist and shaman, who uses these places to rest and grown his herbs and food. The hidden tag is said to be a simple and discreet 'i was here' message to his friends and those who know where to look. 

There are many legends on the underground.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Some Potentially Confusing changes

I have swapped over the urls to my blogs. This one is now stinkpipes.blogspot and the other one is now stenchpipes.blogspot. Either way - this is the one you should be reading and there'll be a link to here from there.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Beckenham - The Avenue

I received a heads up that there were some rather nice stinkpipes in Beckenham, on the Avenue. So I used my new favourite tool to find pictures - Google Streetview. Here they are. They do look rather sexy, and in very good condition. I understand these were used to burn the gas off and provide street lighting. 

My aim is to get down there as soon as I can and get some proper pics with my new camera. 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

New Logo

I thought this would make a rather nice badge, even t-shirt. Might do a love stinkpipes version too. If anyone would like a stinkpipe T shirt then I'm up for doing them - just let me know by one of the usual methods.

Friday, 7 October 2011


A quickie just to let you know we now have a Facebook page, and are in need of a few friends, so don't be shy. Befriend a stinkpipe today!

Our Facebook account is called London Stinkpipes

Thursday, 6 October 2011


I have about 30 stinkpipes mapped, which is almost insignificant. There are 158 in Lambeth alone, apparently. So I realise it's time to get out there and start searching. The best way to do this is on a bike, and so I'll be slipping on the lycra and peddling off around Bromley & Bexley this Sunday, hoping to find undiscovered gems.
Lambeth will have to wait for another day unfortunately.
I still have loads in the archive to map, but it might genuinely be quicker to start from fresh - I have an idea where there are many to be found, eg, around shooters hill to Plumstead there's a little cluster of them, still unmapped.
People do look at me a bit funny while I'm photographing the stinkpipes, but I try to look all municipal and official as if I might be a surveyor - it's the look I adopt at work and it usually works.

Concrete Stinkpipe

As a break from the usual iron-work we see on these pages, here's a bit of an oddity. Funnily enough, it's very close to where I currently reside, and I see a couple of times every day, but it's taken me three years to get around to photographing it. I've not seen one like this anywhere else, and can't imagine why a concrete version would ever be built. But here it is in all it's glory, on New Road, just off the A209 in Welling.

Oh, and thanks for the comments received. I usually deal with them / absorb / digest / respond, etc at the weekend. So don't think I'm ignoring you. All contributions are very gratefully received.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Stinkpipe Map

Further to my revelation over the weekend, I have now fixed by GPS the position of several stinkpipes in the Welling, Wickham, Plumstead area. The fruits of my work can be seen on this map.

Another success, the previously mentioned stinkpipe near Blackheath station has now been located using Google Streetview. This is good use of technology allowing me to remote-view Stinkpipes anywhere in London!

 The Blackheath stinkpipe turns out to be a fairly mediocre Ham Baker design, in rather poor condition. Of course, a trip out to view the actual object will still be necessary. It might be a rare variation with slightly different designs. Unlikely though.

If you wish to contribute to the map, then continue to send sightings in to me in the traditional manner, email, Twitter, via the Blog, or even on Facebook (more on this later).
But if you want to be really fancy pants then you can locate it on your smartphone using footprints or a similar app, and then send me the data file as an attachment, to stinkpipes@gmail.com
I shall be eternally grateful!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Free Android App Is Useful Shock Horror!

Ovr the weekend I remembered an app that came with my smartphone earlier in the year. It's called "footprints" and allows you to take a snap of a thing which is then mapped using Google Maps. I thought it was utterly useless at the time, and merely used it to find out the geo coordinates of a couple of well known London landmarks not because I needed to, but because I could.

Then over the weekend I had a flash of inspiration, perhaps much like St Paul on his way to Damascus, though not so traumatic.

I could use this Footprints app to locate stinkpipes. The idea is just so simple.

So today I'm disapointed to see that you cannot then access this info on a computer; but there is an export button, so presumably I can get those coordinates off the phone and onto a digital map.

Well watch this space - I mapped three stinkpipes this morning, unfortunately missed one - you try snapping stinkpipes from a fast moving bus!!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Correspondence: Chiswick Stink-pipes

It's always nice to get mail. In the week we received this from Sarah, who also very kindly attached a few photographs she took of the stink-pipes in question. I've included them below:

Dear Stinkpipes,

I attach pictures of two stinkpipes found along the river in the vicinity of the Chiswick Eyot, between Hammersmith and Barnes.

The first pipe (A) is found at the intersection of Hammersmith Terrace / Chiswick Mall /Eyot Gardens.
The second (B) is further west on Chiswick Mall and seem to be located in one of the riverside gardens, so only its top is easily visible.

I would also like to give you my heartfelt thanks, having spent long hours (ok, minutes) conversing with various acquaintances about the possible purposes of the 'fat lamppost' I'd passed. On the night I saw your presence on twitter I was all set out to go out and stick a post-it note on aforesaid pipe reading "please, what is this for?" before you enlightened me.
Best wishes etc.

Stinkpipe A (base)

Stinkpipe A (base)

Stinkpipe A

Stinkpipe A

Stinkpipe B
This looks to be a pretty fine specimen with all original pipe and connections from the base to the crown. although it does look to be in need of some loving care and attention. SP B here is not the first I've come across in a private garden. Yes it does make life a little difficult for London Stinkpipes. One day we're just going to have go a house-calling!

Thankyou Sarah, I hope that's not the last we hear from you.

Geek Of The Week

At London Stinkpipes we are huge fans of the Collings and Herrin podcast, having been a Richard Herring fan throughout his career, and also a fairly avid follower of Andrew Collins' work from the NME days, via various magazines including The Word, to appearances all over the BBC, and not just standing in for people these days either.
This meant that the Collins and Long show, replacing Adam & Joe, is a firm favourite at LS HQ. When we heard they were running a Geek Of The Week slot, inviting nerdish obsessives to air their works, our ears pricked up. this was a chance to get stinkpipes to the world, via BBC 6Music.
So last week a call went out, via Twitter, to Andrew Collins, asking if we could be featured on the Geek of the Week slot. After numerous communications a call came from a 6Music producer, can you talk on the air in 5 minutes? Then another call, sorry, we meant 2 minutes; and then Mr Collins himself came on the line to say hello and put me at my ease. As the strains of The Smiths came to the end I could hear Long & Collins talking, then the GOTW jingle, and I was on!
I can't remember a lot about it now. I think I failed to get over the majesty of the best, elegant designs to be found on stinkpipes, and I never got asked the question I thought was a dead cert - what is my favourite stinkpipe (Fred Bird - my avatar). But I think I was coherent, didn't ramble, say anything weird, or say f**k or bugger, and responded to everything I was asked in a fairly succinct and pleasant manner.
I've had a little bit of positive feedback from twitter; but if you haven't heard it yet then listen to it here, on the iPlayer. I'm about 45 / 50 minutes in.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Links to other sites: Bollards Of London


This is fantastic, and in a way, I wish I'd thought of it first. More bollards than you can shake several sticks at, and some you'll probably be very familiar with. I'm particularly familiar with the 'Vauxhall Three', so I'm glad they're in there.

I haven't worked out how to put links on here yet. It's new Blogger and only seems to offer a series of predesigned templates, wheras i used to go in and edit the template code directly. Can't see how to do that now!

I'm sure I'll work it out - anyway. Remember while you're out hunting for stinkpipes, keep an eye out for bollards too!

My Biog

If anyone is slightly confused by the disconnect between the "mission statement" I have printed under my Cat avatar, and the actual contents of this blog then you may be interested to know that this is because I have more than one blog on blogger, and blogger seems to want to use the same biog details for all my blogs, even though the one it uses was only really written for a long running and occasional blog i call "Dispatches From The Cat".

so please ignore it, my anarchism, and my views on cycling are hardly relevant to the stinkpipe adventure we are all embarking on.

I will try to find a way to remedy this obvious problem, but it might take me some time. I'm not so good with computer software, better with solid engineering in the real world!

Oh hum

Monday, 26 September 2011

Godalming Stinkpipe

The one bad thing about calling a blog London's Stinkpipes is that it then becomes difficult to cover stinkpipes found outside London.
So these are pictures the team took while searching the Godalming area several years ago now, but never before published.
The design is unique, and I remember that there were certainly more than one, and not all completely accessible.


There was an inscription on the base. I thought the overall design was rather attractive

Good news! good news!

We've actually been able to log into the old Blogger site "London's Stinkpipes" and put on there a redirection to this blog which we have decided to continue with, rather than go back and start trying to edit something we stopped maintaining over three years ago.

But it does mean we have access to the photos and messages that were left in the meantime, and it also means we now have Stinkpipes.blogspot.com and Stenchpipes.blogspot.com. It all helps people to find us.

And remember - if you see a stinkpipe, photograph it if you can, record it's location, and send to us via Twitter @stinkpipes or by email stinkpipes@gmail.com

Or leave a message on this blog

Happy looking!!


Just a quickie to record that while on the train heading into central London today I saw a green, fairly large stinkpipe sticking up behind a wall right next to the railway line, just past Blackheath station.

Now I need to go back with camera, GPS device, and independent means of transport (bicycle).

Saturday, 24 September 2011

I used to record the locations of all the stink pipes I discovered in an AtoZ with a black marker pen. This was obviously inadequate, and even more so after I lost it.

Luckily I seem to have remembered most of the locations; this is a feat which i can only manage with information that others consider to be useless.

Through the next few months I will be bringing over entries from my previous blog, mapping the individual pipes as I copy them over, recording types, features and posting photographs.

By the end of the year i hope to be fully up to date.

stink pipe map

A work in progress - a map of all the stink pipes as I become aware of them. I've put my local one in as a starter. Later I'll add a photograph and some details. I hope that this can become a central resource for stink pipe fans everywhere.

Note from the future: Having weighed up the pros and cons have decided to use Google Maps as Google Streetview is an invaluable tool for checking locations of stinkpipes!

London Mysteries Stink Pipes


Just found this on the Time Out website:

Each week we solve one of London’s great mysteries (as submitted by you, the reader). This week, Jane Thornberry from Wimbledon asked: ‘I was visiting an old friend in Hampton Wick recently and came across this strange, ornamental iron pipe at the end of her street. What on earth is it?’
To find out the answer, see this week’s Time Out Magazine or post your answers below. Have a London Mystery you want solved? Comment below or tweet us at @TimeOutLondon.

Flickr stinkpipe group

time was a few years ago when I used the word "stinkpipe" i would usually find myself corrected with "stenchpipe". Seems now that everyone has embraced "stinkpipe" - and so we should!


New Beginnings

In 2004 my wife and I started photographing and seeking out an item of street furniture which until then we had barely noticed. And when not completely invisible, we had no idea what it's function was.

These poles, scattered around south London, as it soon became apparent, were an important part of our sewer system, designed to release excess gases that build up down there, and also designed to release those gases high enough into the air that the smells would not offend London's gentle-folk, going about their lawful business.

We started photographing - noticing the sometimes ornate designs, and manufacturers' stamps to be found on them. Attempted some research into the history and started mapping them across London.

since then the blog was set up http://stinkpipes.blogspot.com/ but fell into disuse about 2/3 years ago as my career took off & found less time to maintain it.

but now, with a little more time, three years of uncatalogued stinkpipe spots and with access to many more useful online tools such as Twitter and mapping websites, I have decided to resume this project, with a new Blog, and a Twitter account @stinkpipes .

I hope you can join me in this. It's simple. Take a picture of a stinkpipe you have seen. Send it to me via Twitter and state it's location. I will do the rest!

Thanks for reading and I hope you can send me many stench / stink pipes in the future!