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Gallery: Thames Water unveils 150-year digital archive

Thousands of never-before-seen images documenting Thames Water’s past and the growth of London are now available after a mammoth archiving project.

The historic photographs of iconic and critical sites, including Walthamstow reservoirs, Abbey Mills pumping station and Beckton sewage works, from across the capital span almost a century, from 1886 to 1976, and can be downloaded for free.

The collection, loaned to the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) to undergo a programme of conservation, cataloguing and repackaging, contains 18,000 glass plate negative slides, 2,000 ‘lantern’ slides and 158 wastewater books, which include maps and drawings.

Thames Water senior archaeologist Claire Hallybone said: “We’re thrilled to launch this fascinating archive, and show everyone these incredible photographs which capture so much history.

“As a company we’re completely focused on providing the best water and waste service to customers possible, and this look back in time shows this has been going on for generations before us, coinciding with the growth of London – we’ve been there through it all.

“We’re sure the images will bring a lot of memories back for Londoners, and may also show relatives what their family members got up to during their day-to-day jobs over the years.”

It’s the first time there has been a concerted effort to bring Thames Water’s archive materials into one place, and more images will be added to the collection as they become available.

The idea of the project first came in 2014, when one of the archive rooms at Abbey Mills was cleared as part of the Lee Tunnel construction.

For more information, to submit your pictures or to view the archive, visit https://archive.thameswater.co.uk/ 

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