Lost rivers of South London cycling tour - Saturday 27 July 2024 2.30pm

Lost rivers of South London cycling tour - Saturday 27 July 2024 2.30pm

Regular price £19.50
/
Tax included.

Ticket

Join Open City for a cycling tour exploring the fascinating history and topography of South London’s lost rivers

There are just two remaining open rivers in inner South London: the River Wandle in Wandsworth to the west; and the Ravensbourne in Lewisham to the east. Yet between these two, there are a cluster of long-vanished smaller streams: the Falcon Brook, the Heathwall, the Effra, the Earl’s Sluice, each with their own smaller tributaries, which disappeared from view into sewers in the 1860s as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s London Main Drainage scheme.

It is these absences that provide the focus for an unusual cycling tour led by Jon Newman: archivist, tour guide and self-appointed historian of their vanishings. This eight mile semi- circular tour, starting at Clapham Junction and finishing on the Thames at Nine Elms, provides an introduction to the landscapes and history of these rivers’ lower reaches. It also provides a context for the history of the growing nineteenth century debates about public health, urbanisation, water supply and drainage and the need for a solution to London’s increasingly polluted rivers. Bazalgette’s hard-engineering solution was not supposed to leave visible traces, but Jon’s tour will reveal how the lines of these rivers can still be read today: in the lie of the land, through subsequent development patterns, in the river trees still found growing above vanished river banks, and in the survivals of stink pipes, manhole covers and other street furniture.

Key information

Meet: Falcon Glade Park, 119 Falcon Rd SW11 2PE

End: River Thames at Vauxhall Tower

Duration: 3 hours approx

Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty: Easy - Moderate. The route passes through Battersea, Clapham, Brixton, Loughborough Junction, Kennington and Vauxhall, using parks and side streets wherever possible, but does include some main roads

Accessibility: At at one point on the tour bikes will need to be carried down a short flight of steps

About your guide: Jon Newman is a historian and archivist with many years experience working in and writing about South London. His ‘South London Walks’ series has explored at the influence of place on the work of William Blake in Lambeth, John Ruskin in Herne Hill and James Whistler in Battersea. Jon has also carried out detailed research into the geography and history of many of South London’s underground watercourses – including book-length studies of the River Effra and of the Heathwall in Battersea.

Tickets are non-refundable and tours go ahead rain or shine.

* Please check for any planned transport engineering works, planned strike action or large scale events that may affect your journey before making your ticket purchase *

If you find you can no longer make the tour for any reason we are unable to transfer you to another date, but please feel free to pass your booked place onto a friend to go and enjoy the tour in your place. 

In the event your tour date is cancelled you will be issued with a credit note (with no expiry date) that you can use to 

- book onto a rescheduled date
- book onto any other tour from our programme 

or you can request a refund. 

All ticket purchases are in support of the work of our organisation including our pioneering education programmes. We really appreciate your support! 

Get in touch with Adrianna at tours@open-city.org.uk with any queries.

Please select solidarity pricing to help Open City offer the concessionary tickets rate for student and jobseekers.

Our concession pricing (£9.50 for walking tours / £19.50 for boat tours) is available for students and jobseekers only. 

 

If you find you can no longer make the tour for Covid or any reason we are unable to transfer you to another date, but please feel free to pass your booked place onto a friend to go in your place. 

In the event your tour date is cancelled due to Covid or any other reason you will be provided with the opportunity to book onto a rescheduled date, book onto another tour, provided with a credit note (with no expiry date) or you can request a refund. 

All ticket purchases are in support of the work of our organisation including our pioneering education programmes. We really appreciate your support! 

Get in touch with Adrianna at tours@open-city.org.uk with any queries.