The River Walbrook may have been the first London river to be buried beneath the City’s streets. It only appears after heavy rain where it pours through a storm drain outlet into the Thames close to Canon Street. It may have been hidden for more than 500 years but there are traces of the river that can be found in the street pattern and names of some of the alley ways and streets of the City of London.
The Romans created the first settlement where the Walbrook and the Thames converge and later the Walbrook became the eastern boundary of Londinnium. It flows past two former theatres associated with Shakespeare and flows beneath the Bank of England.
Tom Bolton, author of a forthcoming book on Lost Rivers of London, led a group of investigators on a Wednesday After Work Walk along the route he thinks is most likely to be the course of the Walbrook. There was some scepticism over the unusual techniques used by investigators to establish its source in New Inn Square, Shoreditch.
However, by the time investigators had reached the Thames foreshore beneath Canon Street railway bridge, Tom had convinced them that Walbrook has played a significant role in the creation of the City of London as we know it today.
Find out about further lost river and vanishing neighbourhood walkshops with Tom Bolton here.
This article first appeared on the Rethinking Cities website