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15 September 2010

Find the River Westbourne at Sloane Square Tube

If you look high up in Sloane Square Tube Station, you will see the large square pipe shown below. This pipe holds what is left of the River Westbourne, a river which shaped London as we know it, but was buried underground by Victorian Engineers in 1856-7 and stripped of its name and function, renamed as the Ranelagh Sewer.

The Westbourne once flowed from Hampstead through a fishpond at Kilburn to Hyde Park, where it created the valley now occupied by the Serpentine. It eventually reached the Thames near Chelsea hospital, and the water was once even diverted to a reservoir at Chelsea Waterworks.

Nowadays, it doesn't even get to see the light of day, and has become a river of sewage which only gets close to the surface in a metal prison inside a tube station. It's all very sad really.

For more, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2005/mar/30/pollution.g2
^Picture © Copyright Oxyman reused under a Creative Commons Licence.^

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