A sewer ventilation column of around 1896-1903 constructed by W Macfarlane & Co, for a sewerage scheme by Baldwin Latham (1836-1917) and one of around 28 remaining in Carshalton.
Reasons for Designation
The sewer ventilation column of around 1896-1903, on Laburnum Avenue, Carshalton, LB Sutton, constructed by W Macfarlane & Co, for a sewerage scheme by Baldwin Latham (1836-1917) and one of 28 remaining in Carshalton is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* 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;
* it survives well, retaining its key functional and decorative features;
* sewer ventilation columns were once a common feature of the street scene, but original examples of this scale and quality are increasingly rare.
* 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.
* as a group of around 28 sewer ventilation columns in Carshalton, that collectively demonstrate the scale of a Victorian sewer system.
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 W Macfarlane & Co, a renowned, Glasgow-based, ironwork foundry. Their function was to dispel the sewer 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.
A sewer ventilation column on Laburnum Avenue of around 1896-1903 constructed by W Macfarlane & Co, for a sewerage scheme by Baldwin Latham (1836-1917) and one of around 28 remaining in Carshalton.
DETAILS: the cylindrical sewer ventilation column is around 9m high and is designed to resemble a Classical column with pedestal, moulded base and enriched capital. It is constructed of two conjoined lengths of pipe, linked with a flanged joint. Above the capital is an ornate arrow, the purpose of which is thought to be to orientate the vent into the wind or to indicate the line of the sewer. On top of this is a ball with vents facing in four directions, surmounted by a tall finial encircled with a filigree coronet. There is no visible manufacture stamp, although a number of similar examples in Carshalton are marked with the name ‘W MACFARLANE & CO, GLASGOW’.