Watery London


London seems to be a city built on, or surrounded by, water. It’s said that there’s no such thing as a dry London house, and I don’t know any city dwellers who don’t have a battle with water in some form. Our warehouse has a well in its basement, and the underground Fleet river passes beneath us. This is the second home I’ve had on an underground river – the first I wrote about in ‘The Water Room’.
The construction of Sloane Square station was complicated by the River Westbourne which ran through Hyde Park, originally crossing the Knight’s Bridge at Knightsbridge. The river is carried above the platforms in a large iron pipe suspended from girders, and is still there today.
Which brings me to today’s puzzler; what on earth is wrong with Great Portland Street tube station? Go to the far end of the Eastbound platform and you can hear roaring water. You can also see it cascading down the walls from the ceiling, corroding all the signs. Is there a river here too?

Water is invading Gt Portland St tube

Water is invading Gt Portland St tube

3 comments on “Watery London”

  1. Adam Holdsworth says:

    I used to work at the Royal National Institute for the Blnd’s then HQ at 224 Great Portland Street. Our supplies guy who had worked there longer than anyone else, used to speak of a river running through one of the three sub-basements which would rise to the uppmermost of these during continuous rainy periods.

    I never got to see these sub-basements (health and safety risk) but a couple guys who I trust confirmed their existence of the river. The regular basement was quite an atmospheric, creepy area in its own right.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Three sub-basements! Which were subject to flooding! The underground parts of London are even more fascinating than the surface ones.

  3. Lisa Q says:

    Do you mean the house that Kallie lived in in The Water Room was inspired by somewhere you lived? Creepy!!!

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