A sketch map of some lost rivers
"London Before the Houses", map of pre-urban London from 1884.[1]
The position of a mouth of the Effra in the 13th century.

The subterranean or underground rivers of London are or were the direct or indirect tributaries of the upper estuary of the Thames (the Tideway) that were built over during the growth of the metropolis of London. They now flow through culverts,[2] with some of them integral parts of London's sewerage system and diverted accordingly.[3]

North of the Thames

From west to east - sub-tributaries are shown indented

The culverted mouth of the Earl's Sluice at Deptford Wharf

South of the Thames

From west to east - sub-tributaries are shown indented


In June 2008, the office of Mayor of London published outline plans to reinstate some underground rivers.[7] In January 2009, a partnership among the Environment Agency, Natural England, The River Restoration Centre, and the Greater London Authority set out a strategy for putting this into effect by creating the London Rivers Action Plan.[8][9]

See also

The Moselle on the surface flows through Tottenham Cemetery on its way to the Lea.


  1. ^ Loftie, William John (1884). A History of London (2nd ed.). London: Edward Stanford.
  2. ^ Nicholas Barton, The Lost Rivers of London, Historical Publications, ISBN 0-948667-15-X
  3. ^ Humphreys, Sir George W. (November 1930). Main Drainage of London (PDF). London: London County Council. p. 5. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.((cite book)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ Bentley, David (1984). "A recently identified valley in the City" (PDF). London Archaeologist. 05 (1): 13–16. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  5. ^ a b London's Lost Rivers (2011) Paul Talling, Random House, pp148-150 ISBN 9781847945976
  6. ^ "The Lost River Of London You've Never Heard Of: The Heathwall". Londonist.
  7. ^ "Boris Johnson to revive London's lost rivers". Times Online. London, UK. 5 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Environment Agency plans for river restoration". Environment-agency.gov.uk. UK. 2 March 2010. Archived from the original on 26 June 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  9. ^ "London Rivers Action Plan". The River Restoration Centre. UK. Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010.

Further reading