Invisible Rivers


There are two books on London’s lost rivers out with the same name, one of which, Tom Bolton’s book of walking the rivers, I wrote a foreword for.

A recent reference to the “river Fleet buried below” the new King’s Cross station raises an interesting point. The new ticket hall takes its semi-circular shape from the curve of the Great Northern hotel, a protected building, which it abuts. Built in the 1850s, the hotel’s shape was itself determined by a bend in the by now culverted river Fleet. So although the river is now invisible, it continues to exert its influence on the landscape.

The river can still be heard rising from the iron grating outside the Coach and Horses pub, just off Farringdon Road.

8 comments on “Invisible Rivers”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Historic novels set in London would never succeed without mention of the rivers Fleet and Thames. The Thames being a highway of the city and the Thames being described as pretty much the alimentary canal of the city. Here in the States, we know the Fleet as being an over the counter post-digestive aid (old ad: “Fleet’s In”, yes that’s a true.) Having read a fair amount of fiction set in London, I have always wondered if the product took it’s name from the river. Just saying.

  2. BangBang!! says:

    I wish I wasn’t such a pov. These look great but my birthday isn’t till October so I’ll have to wait.

  3. Alan Morgan says:

    Hurray the Effra!

  4. GB Steve says:

    We’ve started to use the Tom Bolton for walks. Well, my wife has done the Peck from source to the Thames but next we’ll be doing the Neckinger. It’s excellent.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Two great covers – spooky buried and beautiful luring. Guess which admin did the forward for? We’re starting to ‘surface’ our buried streams and that seems a good idea to me. It makes reminding people about spawning fish so much easier.

  6. Mel Mitch says:

    Does anyone know where you can get a map of the hidden rivers in London??

  7. BangBang!! says:

    There’s a bit of a one here which might be a start. It’s not great but it gives an idea of where they are.

  8. Jez Winship says:

    I fell into the Effra once, where it emerges in Belair Park in Dulwich, having been goaded onto some clearly unstable ice by a couple of ‘friends’. A baptismal plunge into London history.

Comments are closed.

Posted In