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Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, London E1

A fascinating piece of industrial archaeology as well as a great map and sketch. Impressive!

Jane Sketching

What an amazing building! It presides over a corner of Shadwell Basin, surrounded by a high wall. I spotted it on a long weekend run, and went back later to sketch it.

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, sketched 1 Jan 2023 in Sketchbook 12, 7″ x 9″

What’s a Hydraulic Power Station? Well, in the late nineteenth century, London’s industry needed a way to exert mechanical force: to operate a printing press for example, or to raise heavy weights, for cranes and metal forming. Also, passenger lifts had been invented, and building engineers needed a way to exert force to operate the lift. One way would be to have a steam engine on site. This wasn’t always practical. Steam engines are noisy and dirty and you don’t want one next to your desirable residence, or even cluttering up your dockyard. So here’s the next idea: instead of lots of little steam…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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