Sunday, June 24, 2012

What on Earth is a Stinkpipe?

The rusty-green, old-style not-post in all its glory
I've learnt something new, and it's not that I can't take a decent photograph to save my life.

I'm trying to lose weight, and part of this is going for a brisk walk a few times a week. My standard route takes me around the town in which I live and, after having walked and driven past something numerous times in the last five years I finally noticed it.

The photograph to the left shows what I noticed. At ground level it disguises itself as a lamppost, if a rusty-green, old-style variety. With so many posts of different kinds it's difficult to miss something that's a bit different, but notice it I did. I took a photograph of it at the time, too: you can see it and the resultant conversation (including druids and aliens) on my G+ post here.

I figured that, looking like a rusty-green, old-style lamp post, it was just a rusty-green, old-style lamp post. But as someone who just can't help looking up, I did just that and saw that its top end just didn't swing with that particular hypothesis.

The top, replete with absolutely
no bendy-over whatsoever
There's none of this bendy-over-at-the-top stuff that's so popular in lamp-post design. This is a straight-up, no-nonsense pointing at the sky kind of affair. It looks more like a chimney, which provides the first real clue to what it actually (probably) is.

Having posted the original photo on G+ (as previously linked to), @pandammonium tweeted me with the suggestion "is it a stinkpipe?" I've never heard of such a thing, so she was kind enough to furnish me with a link to the Stinkpipe Collector blog (it's honestly more interesting than it sounds, though if you've made it this far through this post you're probably not going to need a lot of convincing).

Performing an image search for "stinkpipes" brings up a host of images, some of which are not entirely dissimilar to my discovered artifact*, so I'm choosing to believe that this is indeed a stinkpipe until someone can convince me otherwise with appropriate diagram-supported exposition.

This Stinkpipe is located in Barton Seagrave on the A6003 (Barton Road) between the junctions for Cranford Road and Linnet Drive: right here.

For completeness, here's the bottom end**
But what is a stinkpipe?

Apparently, stinkpipes (or stenchpipes) are the overground remnants of a Victorian invention to vent stink from inefficient sewer systems so that it could skip the bit of airspace that contained people's nostrils.

It seems that they're all over London, but have you got one near you?

* It may be that no-one else in the area has noticed it either (Stinkpipe collector says that "stinkpipes can remain unseen until they want to be discovered," which makes me a Chosen One), so I would like to suggest it be known, and eventually officially named, TeaKay's Other Stinkpipe.
** Tee hee, he said 'bottom end' in a post about stinkpipes.