diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE LOST RIVERS OF LONDON
The River Tyburn


The West End's lost river flowed from Hampstead down to Westminster.


» An approximate map of the Tyburn's course (my best Google map attempt)
» All my Tyburn posts on one page, in the right order

www.flickr.com: my Tyburn gallery
There are 60 photos altogether (click through for a flick through)


THE LOST RIVERS OF LONDON
The River Tyburn
4b) Buckingham Palace → Pimlico


To fully remove the lower reaches of the river Tyburn, its waters were dropped into a brick sewer in the early 18th century. Rather than tracing the route of the river towards Westminster, the new culvert instead headed south from Buckingham Palace and made for the Thames at Pimlico. This was the King's Scholars' Pond Sewer, named after Westminster School's ablest pupils (which is perhaps not the way they'd prefer to be remembered). Soon after leaving the royal residence it today passes beneath more mundane backstreets, then past the big new shopping/office complex at Cardinal Place. I'm guessing it flows beneath Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre [photo], which is something best not considered when you're sitting in the stalls. The sewer's also causing problems with the construction of a new ticket hall for Victoria tube station at Bressenden Place, because the brown tube isn't as far below the ground as engineers would like.

Next up, an unexpectedly grim back passage. That's King's Scholars' Passage, a lengthy access road squashed between six-storey brick cliffs round the back of Vauxhall Bridge Road [photo]. If you can ever avoid visiting, do. This emerges outside the Queen Mother Sports Centre (no, she never popped by for an Age Vitality Workout, it's merely named after her). The sewer then follows the curve of Tachbrook Street, which is delightfully Georgian-terrace on one flank and depressingly postwar-block on the other [photo]. Nearly there. One final stretch beyond Pimlico station, beneath the Tachbrook Estate, and we're at the Thames.

Unusually for a lost river, the bottom of the Tyburn is really obvious. Two houses stand out beside the busy riverside dual carriageway, being rather older than the modern piles to either side [photo]. One's Rio Cottage, labelled with a plaque announcing it was built in 1832 "as part of Kingschoole Sluice". Nextdoor at number 140C is Tyburn House - similarly old looking but with an extra storey on top. Between them they guard the exit to the King's Scholars' Sewer, which disgorges (when necessary) beneath one resident's back window [photo]. They can even nip down a metal staircase at low tide to their own pebbly beach, if they're brave enough. And in case all the clues aren't obvious enough, a slab of slate affixed to the riverside path charts a rundown of the Tyburn's progress all the way from Shepherds Well to Tachbrook Street [photo]. Journey's end, job well done. [photo]

Following the Tyburn: Stafford Place, Stag Place, Bressenden Place, King's Scholar's Passage, Upper Tachbrook Street, Tachbrook Street, Buonaparte Mews, Balvaird Place, Grosvenor Road.


<< 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