At Crossness Pumping Station

Sometimes I forget how long ago Carroll really lived, and then something happens to remind me. Went to Crossness Pumping Station which had an open day yesterday. This monumental bit of Victorian engineering was the brainchild of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, maestro of Victorian sewerage. Because Crossness was built to deal with South London's sewage, thousands if not millions of people were saved from hideous death from cholera and typhoid.

I have seen unpublished Dodgson family letters which indicate how terrifying a spectre cholera was, and it is a threat which Carroll lived with until he was well into his thirties, or beyond - since Crossness was only opened in 1865.

Now, the biggest worry about Crossness is whether it will ever get restored - this massively impressive and important bit of industrial archaeology is still largely derelict, with sections of it restored by countless man hours of volunteers' work. I'm supporting them now at and I hope things will improve.

My biggest anxiety yesterday was actually Arthur, shown here as he scampered around in his special child-sized hard hat. The picture was taken about 30 feet off the ground, and the railings around the beam engines and up and down the stairs were not exactly childproof. But although he's very nimble, he's also always been very careful, and didn't tend to fall off things even as a toddler. So he was fine.