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Featured articlesCampbell Road, N4
Campbell Road, or "The Bunk" - was known as the worst street in London. Campbell Road had a bad reputation from the moment it was built in 1865, on land known as the St Pancras’ Seven Sisters Road Estate. It was a long street just to the west of Fonthill Road, off Seven Sisters. Building along the street was done piecemeal and took a long time. Over a period of years, the demand fell and poor people, unable to afford to buy or rent a whole house, started taking rooms in the properties.
In 1880 a lodging house was opened at 47 Campbell Road, licensed for 90 men. It was the first of many such establishments in the road and by 1890 Campbell Road had the largest number of doss house beds for any Islington street.
People were very poor, many of them with large families. With such over-crowded rooms, life was often lived in the street. Campbell Road was a slum so wretched that its inhabitants sold the glass from their windows, so unlawful that the police steered clear - career criminals lived there. It was so insular that t...
Bexleyheath Clock Tower
The Bexleyheath Coronation Memorial Clock Tower, commemorating the coronation of King George V, was formally opened on Bexleyheath Gala Day, 17 July 1912. Designed by Walter Epps, the Clock Tower was intended to stand "as a memorial to the enterprise and loyalty of the inhabitants of Bexleyheath" and it was thought that the Clock Tower "would be the beginnings of better things to come in Bexleyheath". The clock would certainly be useful for passengers waiting at the tram terminus at the Market Place.
At the opening ceremony a "temporary" bust of King George V was unveiled. The architect, Epps, ended his speech with, "I hope to see all the niches filled with busts of members of the Royal Family".
A bell was installed on 17 June 1913 but in August 1914 the Defence of the Realm Act banned the ringing of bells for fear they might be used by German spies to convey secret messages. The bell did not ring again until the year 2000.
During the 1930s the bust of King George disintegrated and then completely fell apart during cleaning after WWII. It was recast by John Ravera, Bexleyheath resident and a ...
Branch Hill Pond
Branch Hill Pond which was fed from a spring which was also the main source of the Westbourne. Branch Hill Pond, which disappeared in the late nineteenth century, can still be seen as a distinct hollow in the heath which is still grassland at this point.
John Constable (1776-1837) came to Hampstead Heath in the late summer of 1819, seeking relief from urban London for his family of two children and his wife Maria who suffered from consumption. He rented a cottage at Upper Heath and at once began to paint the countryside; the uneven ground provided splendid viewpoints over the heath and toward London to the south.
By 1827 Constable had rented on a permanent basis a small four-story house at 40 Well Walk, Hampstead Heath. while still keeping a studio and minimum living space in London. He wrote Fisher that the drawing room of their new house situated on the high ground commanded "a view unequalled in Europe—from Westminster Abbey to Gravesend."
It was there in 1827 that he painted an important oil of Branch Hill Pond. Hampstead Heath....
The Cannon Stream was, before it was sent underground, a tributary of the Westbourne River. Two main tribitaries fed the former Westbourne River - the Kil Bourne and the Cannon Stream.
The highest branch of the River Westbourne begins at what is still the highest point in Greater London - the area just north of Whitestone Pond in Hampstead. It then flows downhill to cross Branch Hill in Hampstead. Nowadays it is rare to see any surface water, but after heavy rain the sandy soil can become waterlogged.
Cannon Stream flowed past the contemporary Spedan Close and roughly follows the line of Redington Gardens and Heath Drive before crossing the Finchley Road. Locals named this Cannon’s Stream because it trickled down Cannon’s Hill. At the foot of the hill the stream flowed behind the Cock and Hoop tavern and fed a small pond on West End Green, West Hampstead. Both pub and pond are long since gone.
The stream followed the fields which formed the boundary between West End Green and Kilburn before joining the Kil Bourne at Kilburn Priory.
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River Westbourne outflow
The River Westbourne flowed into the Thames at this point. A vestige of the river, a wide quay opens into the river Thames about 300 yards (270 m) west of Chelsea Bridge. An overflow outfall, from a pipe named the Ranelagh Sewer, can still be seen at low tide, as most of the Westbourne’s course has been used as a convenient depression in the land to place the local sewerage system, some of which takes surface water to form a combined sewer which links to two intercept sewers, the Middle Level Sewer and the Northern Low Level Sewer in the London sewerage system.
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Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W
Chelsea Bridge Road was built in the 1850s to connect Chelsea with its bridge. The Ranelagh pleasure gardens opened in 1742 to become one of the most fashionable pleasure resorts of the 18th century, with access by river as well as by road. In the 1760s Sir Thomas Robinson, one of the proprietors of the pleasure gardens, built a mansion east of the rotunda to his own designs called Prospect Place, where he lived until his death in 1777; by the 1790s the house had been divided.
In 1803 the pleasure gardens closed and Ranelagh House, its Rotunda and other features were cleared. This part of the estate then became gardens in the ownership of the Hospital.
In 1857-8 Chelsea Bridge Road was laid in a straight line from a widened White Lion Street to the new Chelsea Bridge, sweeping away the later Ranelagh House, Wilderness Row and the eastern end of the burial ground; all the land west of the road was thrown into the Hospital’s gardens, including land lying in Westminster. The land between the new road and the Westbourne was take...
Elms Lane, W2
Elms Lane in Bayswater was situated on the west bank of the Westbourne stream. By 1828, the main Uxbridge Road, facing Kensington Gardens, had been built up between Petersburgh Place and Porchester Terrace. Houses stretched north to Moscow Road, nearly completed, although there was open ground near the boundary and between Petersburgh Place and Bark Place.
Fields survived along the Uxbridge Road from St. Agnes Villas to Bayard’s Watering Place, whence Elms or Elm Lane led northward, with some houses between it and the stream, along the line of the later Craven Terrace to the east end of Craven Hill.
Elms Lane was named after the line of elm trees which ran along its length.
Craven Terrace was built along the former route of Elms Lane.
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Red Lion Bridge
Harrow Road once spanned the River Westbourne at this point. Now an extremely urban area, with the Westway running on a flyover directly above the rerouted Harrow Road, this was once a very rural spot in Westbourne Green.
The Red Lion pub, a country pub on the bridge was moved 100 yards to the east when the first major change to the area came - the building of the Great Western Railway.
The railway caused many roads to be built and rerouted - for instance a proposed "Westbourne Street" by property developers became "Westbourne Bridge" over the railway tracks in the 1840s.
The rural spot was no longer and urbanisation proceeded rapidly.
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The Bayswater Rivulet was the original name for the Westbourne River Now culverted and firmly underground, the river ran through what is now suburban Kilburn Park.
It ran under where Kilburn Park Road and Rudolph Road meet.
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The Long Water is a recreational lake in Kensington Gardens, created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline. The Long Water refers to the long and narrow western half of the lake that is known as the Serpentine. Serpentine Bridge, which marks the boundary between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, also marks the Long Water’s eastern boundary. The Long Water and the Serpentine are generally considered to be part of one lake.
Originally the lake was fed by the River Westbourne entering at the Italian Garden at the north-western end of the Long Water.
In 1730 Queen Caroline, wife of George II, ordered the damming of the River Westbourne in Hyde Park as part of a general redevelopment of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Original monastic ponds may have existing in the location and these were modified as part of the 1730–1732 scheme to create a single lake. At that time, the Westbourne formed eleven natural ponds in the park. During the 1730s, the lake filled to its current size and shape. The redevelopment was carried out by Royal Gardener Charles Bridgeman, who dam...
The bridge over the Westbourne at Sloane Square was called Blandel Bridge and was later renamed Grosvenor Bridge. In the 18th Century, Sloane Square looked much the same as it does today, except that the square was an open green space enclosed by wooden posts, connected by iron chains. It was here that Queen Charlotte’s Royal Volunteers often assembled, and marched off in military order to Hyde Park, headed by their band.
On the eastern side of the square, the same side as the Royal Court Theatre, stood Blandel Bridge, which crossed the Westbourne River, one of the old rivers of London. It was about twelve or fourteen feet wide, and had walls on either side high enough to protect passengers from falling into the river.
It was nicknamed “Bloody Bridge” going back as 1590 so named allegedly following the murder of Lord Harrington’s cook who was attacked and beaten to death by highwaymen. Bloody Bridge once comprised of a footbridge with a plank before a more substantial bridge, 16 feet wide and lined by high walls, was built in the reign of Charles ll.
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Bayard’s Bridge took the Uxbridge Road over the River Westbourne. The origin of the river name Westbourne is not clear and does not appear before the 19th century. The areas named Westbourne such as Westbourne Grove were called that as they lay west of the bourne or river.
The river itself was named Bayswater Brook and named the Westbourne later on.
The name Bayswater is said to have derived from ’Bayard’s Watering Place’, first recorded in 1380, where the River Westbourne passed under the Uxbridge road (now Bayswater Road) , a ‘bayard’ being a horse which would have taken water from the river.
Another explanation is that the land now called Bayswater belonged to the Abbey of Westminster when the Domesday Book was compiled; the most considerable tenant under the abbot was Bainiardus, may therefore be concluded that this ground known for its springs of excellent water, once supplied water to Baynard, his household, or his cattle; that the memory of his name was preserved in the nei...
34 Redchurch Street, E2
34 Redchurch St has existed since at least the late seventeenth century. Originally occupied by a pub called The Crown and renamed The Owl & The Pussycat in 1990.
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Some way from the area now called Kilburn, the Kilburn Aqueduct of the Grand Union Canal spanned the River Westbourne. When the canal was built at the turn of the nineteenth century, the valley of the River Westbourne ran through what were known as the Kilburn Fields. To span the valley, the new canal was placed on a 30 foot high embankment to cross the river.
In a report dating from 1814 it is said of the aqueduct that “it is formed over the valley to an elevation of 30 feet above the natural surface of the ground; a brick aqueduct here… being made for the conveyance of the canal over the Serpentine River or Westbrook.”
Progressive development of the area since the canal was built meant the Westbourne river was now becoming an open sewer. Around the early 1820s locals complained the awful smell emanating from the Westbourne. It was culverted for a considerable distance either side of the aqueduct by 1823.
By the 1830s when the area was under development, especially with regards to the railway, the Westbourne had its course diverted and straightened out on...
The Westbourne is one of the lost rivers of London. The river was originally called the Kilburn (Cye Bourne – royal stream, ’Bourne and burn’ being the Germanic word equivalent to rivulet as in the geographical term ’winterbourne’) but has been known, at different times and in different places, as Kelebourne, Kilburn, Bayswater, Bayswater River, Bayswater Rivulet, Serpentine River, The Bourne, Westburn Brook, the Ranelagh River and the Ranelagh Sewer. It is of similar size to the Fleet.
Rising in Hampstead in two distinct branches, the river flows south through Kilburn (also the name of the river at that point) running west along Kilburn Park Road and then south along Shirland Road. After crossing Bishops Bridge Road, the river continued more or less due south, between what is now Craven Terrace and what is now Gloucester Terrace. At this point, the river was known until the early 19th century as the Bayswater rivulet and from that it gave its name to the area now known as Bayswater.
Westbourne Pond is marked on the 1830 Greenwood map as the source of the Westbourne River. While this pond did indeed exist, the Westbourne River rose in Hampstead and flowed into (and out of) this pond. The rivulet above this point was not marked on the map of 1830.
By 1860, the stream had been culverted below here.
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