Travel Guide : Finding London’s Lost Rivers

There are lot many unknown rivers that lies beneath Londoners’ feet. Though Thames has been the major tourist attraction of the city, but there are many unseen waterways and dozens of natural water courses that have been pushed totally underground but have left their mark on the city’s topology. You would be surprised to know that around twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the stretch of Greater London. Traces of the city’s lost river can still be a good find.


Here are the names of those lost rivers of London, whose rumbling waters can still be heard.

Stamford Brook

It is a tributary of the Tideway stretch of the River Thames in west London, a confluence of three smaller streams. The river flows into Hammersmith Creek before going into the Thames. One of the westernmost lower channels of the brook system, the river derives its name from ‘stoney ford’. Now the stream where it flows is a sewer.

Lake_in_Chiswick draining into Stamford Brook

Westbourne Brook

Counted as London’s one of the major waterways, Westbourne flows from Hampstead through Hyde Park onto Sloane Square. For centuries it has been called by many other names like Kilburn, Bayswater, Serpentine and Ranelagh Sewer. When Serpentine was formed in 1730 to revamp Hyde Park it was served by Westbourne’s waters until 1834. Another contribution of this river was for Knightsbridge. This was named after a bridge over the Westbourne.

Since 1850, it has gone underground when the area it flows through underwent construction for expanding the city of London. Few original pipes can be still found above the platform of Sloane Square tube station.

River Walbrook

River Walbrook flows through the middle of the City of London underneath merging in the Finsbury Circus, joining the Thames between Southwark & Cannon Street Bridges.  The river gave its name to a City ward and a minor street situated in its proximity. It is known for playing a vital role in the Roman settlement of London and has helped to supply water and sewerage disposal for ancient Roman settlers. Now this forgotten river is subterranean and its role is only restricted as a part of the sewerage network of the city. The brook was covered up later so that the city could expand.

Walbrook Wharf Serviced Apartments

Beverley Brook

Rising at Cuddington Recreation Park in Worcester Park and Barnes, Beverley Brook is a minor English river, stretching 14.3 kilometres in southwest London. It joins the Thames at Barn Elms, near Putney Bridge. In the 20th century, this brook was fed by poorly treated sewage for lot many years. But over the years and since the introduction of best water treatment methods in 1998, it has been noticed that the brook is now home to many wildlife species.


River Neckinger

Rising in Southwark, Neckinger flows through London to St Saviour’s Dock. Here, the brook enters the Thames and runs completely underground. The mouth of the Neckinger was known as Jacob’s Island in the 19th century. Several good known serviced apartments of London are also situated on the bank of this river that serves a great view and comfort to the people staying for their corporate or leisure stay in london.

Lost rivers are everywhere as an invisible threads, binding the city of London together underneath. They exist long before the architectural developments and the arrival of people in the city. Today, the city stands proudly with rich brooks past, revealing the places the city used to be.

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