diamond geezer

 Sunday, May 30, 2010

THE LOST RIVERS OF LONDON
Hackney Brook
2) Stoke Newington


The only visible surviving remnant of the Hackney Brook is to be found in Clissold Park. Not the curved stream segment in the southern half of the park because that's part of the New River (an artificial channel which used to bring drinking water from Hertford to Finsbury). Instead head to the northern half where you'll find two eye-shaped ornamental lakes inhabited by pondweed and waterfowl [photo] [photo]. These pools have names - the larger one's Becksmere and the smaller Runtzmere, in honour of the two civic dignitaries who presided over the park's opening in 1889. Both are currently fenced off for major drainage works and are less than scenic, but they remain the only water features any pre-19th century Londoner might recognise as part of the stream's original course.



East of Runtzmere comes Grazebrook Road - a well-named echo of the past - and on to the delights of Abney Park Cemetery. This is one of London's 'magnificent seven' garden cemeteries, with a towering chapel at its centre and countless memorials scattered between the trees all around [photo]. It's very easy to get very lost inside, although tracing the route of the Hackney Brook is rather simpler. This flowed along the northern perimeter of the cemetery, just beyond the ivybrick walls, and can be seen marked on Stanford's 1862 map as "former course of Hackney Brook - now obliterated". It emerged by the cemetery gates at the foot of Stamford Hill (another London placename explained by a lost river) [photo], crossing beneath the main road to flow through the grounds of a cluster of almshouses. Those no longer exist, nor the Weavers Arms Inn alongside, but you can always buy some white goods from Sellfridges, N16's legendary deliberately-misspelt appliance outlet. [photo]

Stoke Newington's triangular common was originally known as Cockhanger Green, for some apocryphal reason which might have involved a local brothel. The Hackney Brook flowed along the northern edge of the triangle, which later became Northwold Road, before turning south close to the ordinary suburban terrace where Marc Bolan spent his childhood years [photo]. There are plenty of ordinary suburban terraces on the slopes of Shacklewell below, with rather less famous residents, although it's quite a desirable patch all the same. The ex-river won't be heading anywhere quite so classy down its lower course.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream