Alwyn Collinson

Digital Editor

2 May 2019

London's lost rivers, then & now: Wandle & Lea

Our upcoming exhibition, Secret Rivers, uncovers London's lost waterways. Once vital to Londoner's lives, many of these rivers have been abandoned or concealed beneath our streets. Let's look at how two of these, the Rivers Wandle and Lea, have changed over the centuries.

The rivers of London have changed immeasurably over the years, from sources of drinking and washing water supporting small communities, to open drains choked with industrial pollution and human waste. The construction of the great Victorian sewer network buried so many of London's languishing streams beneath brick and concrete, and Londoners began to forget their rivers. But over the last century, once-secret rivers are now being rediscovered; some like the Lea Valley have been made cleaner and greener. You can discover more about London's lost waterways, both hidden and visible, in our upcoming Secret Rivers exhibition.

The free Secret Rivers exhibition opens 24 May 2019 at the Museum of London Docklands.