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Sewer ventilation column at the junction of Denmark Road and North Street, Carshalton

A Grade II Listed Building in The Wrythe, Sutton

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3697 / 51°22'10"N

Longitude: -0.1658 / 0°9'56"W

OS Eastings: 527774

OS Northings: 165003

OS Grid: TQ277650

Mapcode National: GBR DD.JVW

Mapcode Global: VHGRK.2TPV

Plus Code: 9C3X9R9M+VM

Entry Name: Sewer ventilation column at the junction of Denmark Road and North Street, Carshalton

Listing Date: 23 April 2020

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1468613

Location: Sutton, London, SM5

County: Sutton

Electoral Ward/Division: The Wrythe

Built-Up Area: Sutton

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Summary


Sewer ventilation column. Built in about 1896 to 1903 and cast by Walter Macfarlane & Co at the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, for a sewerage scheme by the engineer Baldwin Latham which included at least 28 columns.

Description

Sewer ventilation column. Built in about 1896 to 1903 and cast by Walter Macfarlane and Co at the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, for a sewerage scheme by the engineer Baldwin Latham which included at least 28 columns.

MATERIALS: constructed of cast-iron.

DESCRIPTION: the cylindrical sewer ventilation column is situated at the junction of Denmark Road and North Street. It is around 9m high and designed to resemble a Classical column with pedestal, moulded base and enriched capital. The column is constructed of two conjoined lengths of pipe, linked with a flanged joint. On top of the capital is an ornate arrow to orientate the vent into the wind or to indicate the line of the sewer. This in turn is surmounted by a ball with vents facing in all four directions and a tall finial encircled with a coronet. There is no visible manufacture stamp, although a number of similar examples in Carshalton are marked with the name ‘W MACFARLANE & CO, GLASGOW’.

History

The Public Health Act of 1875 delivered legislation to help enable the construction of sewer systems across England in an era of rapidly expanding population. The former Carshalton Urban District Council funded a plan in 1896 which had been prepared by the engineer Baldwin Latham (1836-1917) of Victoria Street, Westminster. The first phase of the scheme was built between 1896 and 1900, with a southern extension added around 1903. The sewer ventilation columns for the scheme were constructed by Walter Macfarlane and Co, a renowned, Glasgow-based, ironwork foundry. Their function was to dispel the sewer gases and odour high above the ground.

Baldwin Latham was a surveyor to the Croydon Board of Health from 1863 to 1870, and was later in private practice as an engineer. By the late C19 he had designed the sewerage, irrigation and water works for 15 English towns, including the schemes at Carshalton, Croydon, Birmingham, Harrow and Rugby. He is also cited as the engineer for the sewerage system in Bideford, Devon which included sewer ventilation columns, three of which are listed at Grade II. Latham was also the author of the publication ‘Sanitary engineering: a guide to the construction of works of sewerage and house drainage’ (1873).

It is not known how many sewer ventilation columns were erected in Carshalton but around 28 survive.

Reasons for Listing

The sewer ventilation column at the junction of Denmark Road and North Street, Carshalton, LB Sutton, of about 1896 to 1903, constructed by W Macfarlane & Co for a sewerage scheme by Baldwin Latham (1836-1917), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
  
Architectural interest:
 
*  designed by the notable sanitation engineer Baldwin Latham (1836-1917), and constructed by the Glasgow-based foundry, W Macfarlane & Co, it is a tall and impressive structure with good quality cast-iron mouldings and decoration;
 
* the column survives well, retaining its functional and decorative fittings such as the finial and coronet;
 
* sewer ventilation columns were once a common feature of the street scene, but original examples of this scale and quality are increasingly rare.
 
Historic interest:
 
* as an example of the work of Baldwin Latham, the Victorian sanitation engineer who by the late C19, had designed the sewerage, irrigation and water works for 15 English towns, including the schemes at Carshalton, Croydon, Birmingham, Harrow and Rugby.
 
Group value:
 
* as one of a group of around 28 sewer ventilation columns in Carshalton, that collectively demonstrate the scale of a Victorian sewer system.

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