Eurgh. Fancy a glimpse of the infamous Whitechapel fatberg?

The fatberg clean team. Photo: Thames Water
“It’s one of the most fascinating and disgusting objects we have ever had on display,” says Vyki Sparkes, curator at the Museum of London. Well you can say that again.

In case you missed all the hoo-ha, last year a 130 tonne glob of congealing mess was sucked from the sewers of East London. The 250-metre long fatberg comprised of (yes, scoot that lunchbox to the side) fat, oil, grease, wet wipes and sanitary products and was one of the largest ever plucked from the capital’s Victorian waterways.

After almost two months of hacking away at the brute with shovels and drills, the festering fatty was finally defeated in November last year. Having nabbed a chunk of the nauseating berg, the Museum of London will be conserving it as part of a year-long exhibition on urban living, City Now City Future.

Berg in a pipe. Photo: Thames Water
The existence of the fatberg – which hit headlines in over 115 countries – highlights the pressure that fat and modern rubbish are putting on London’s historic infrastructures. Its very existence is a comment on our increasingly disposable society.

Where’s the rest of it, I hear you ask as you draw that lunchbox back into sight. Thames Water pragmatically converted most of the Whitechapel beast into biodiesel, turning a gross waste problem into a cleaner-burning, greenhouse-gas-reducing fuel.

Nice one, Thames Water – better you than us.

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Catch a glimpse of the big fatty at the the Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y. Runs 9 Feb – 1 July, open daily 10am-6pm. Entry is free, more info here.
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