One of Sea Spray’s team volunteered to do the infamous Brighton Sewer Tour last weekend and was not disappointed!!! These tours get booked up quickly and run about 5 a day at weekends and came within the top 20 things to see in the UK! With more than 50 miles of walkable sewer tunnels under Brighton you have to give it to those canny Victorians! In those days however a heavy downpour meant the sewers flooding onto the beaches but we now have over flow tunnels (you can drive a double decker bus along them they are so big) and the floodwater goes down to our neighbour Portslade – so nice clean beaches for everyone! You have to listen to an alarm at the start which apparently is a 20 minute warning to vacate the sewers if it starts raining heavily (it was raining lightly but still a worry) otherwise you could get washed down a poo tunnel. Talking of which the poo rivers were fascinating to see!
The best bits were the noises which echo in the tunnels (like an eerie oboe sound), and all of us tour members popping up out of a man-hole in the middle of central Brighton (all wearing pictured hard hats) and giving the drunks sitting by a nearby tree a fright (as well as providing entertainment for the traffic waiting at the traffic lights in the Old Steine). The guys that run it are very funny and seem to love their job which is quite amazing considering the nature of their job (scraping poo and kitchen fat off the tunnels otherwise the sewers will block up) and putting up with the smell (it is highly recommend a few lavender oil drops on a tissue covering one’s nose for the tour!). The best story they had was finding a whole set of gold dentures (top and bottom) which a reliable dentist source told us happens often when people throw up down the toilet (so take them out beforehand) and an adults severed finger! We gasped and enquired if he had informed the police/DNA teams etc etc but he said it was 20 years ago before all that stuff so he threw it on the roundabout on his drive home that night!!! All in all it was finger-licking good quirky fun! Tours run from March to September.