Smell and the City

Urban smell enthusiasts

Smell the City: Sewer Fat in London and Cardiff




Back at the end of the summer, when all attention was yet again focussed upon New York City and those smells which seem to leak out into its streets during warmer months, I posted a quick write up and links to the historic map of NYC’s sewer smells, with these ranging from Illuminating Gas and Hydrogen Sulphide through to Banana Oil.

Zooming forward a couple of months, and yet another sewer related story has caught my eye, but this time of contemporary London and Cardiff, and the work of artist Victoria J.E. Jones. Jones is a current PhD candidate at Cardiff Metropolitan University examining the sense of place and simulation, and back in the summer undertook an artist’s residency with – wait for it – the South London Underground Department of Effluence. Inspired by articles which appeared earlier in the year on the ‘fat-burgs’ building up in London sewers, Jones has collected samples of the sewer fat collected in different areas of both London and Cardiff, and as she explains on her blog “Through working with [South London Underground], I discovered that sewer fat from different areas of London retain distinctive smells”.



Victoria Jones sniffing the Leicester Square Sewer-fat Sample

(Image by Diana Oliveira)


The samples were exhibited for three days last month as part of a museum outreach mini exhibition within a pub in Cardiff as part of an annual creative festival in the city. The exhibition was entitled ‘Smell the City: An Olfactory Exploration of City Sewer Fat’ and further details are available in Jones’s more detailed blog write up here. I for one can’t wait to find out more about the work of this fascinating artist. Click here to link to her CV including details of her previous work.


One comment on “Smell the City: Sewer Fat in London and Cardiff

  1. Pingback: An inspiring visit to Canada Part 1: Designing with Smell Colloquium (Vancouver) | Smell and the City

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2013 by in Smell and the City Project.
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