The Lost Rivers of London
I have finally gotten around to setting up an email newsletter program with a news item disrupted infrequently, which I hope you may find interesting. My first news item regarding my first encounter with some of the lost rivers of London, I hope my experiences will make for an interesting read.
I started working as a surveyor for Roger Oakley & Co in Primrose Hill, June 1990 as his assistant. Roger’s area included Maida Vale, Primrose Hill, Camden and Hampstead, all of which suffered with clay soil issues and structural movement. I was soon involved with dealing with insurance claims representing the property owners for underpinning works. I didn’t appreciate another factor causing structural movement were the numerous buried streams, creeks and rivers throughout London, which are direct or indirect tributaries of the upper estuary of the Thames Tideway.
Later whilst working as a consultant for Lord Phillimore Pembridge Estate in W8, we undertook a major refurbishment of a large detached house on Upper Phillimore Gardens. Whilst excavation the lower ground floor and rear garden, the soil gave way to forming a subterranean river running from the garden and flooding the entire site. The tributary to the front of the property would have continue to floor below the ground down to Kensington High St, undisturbed for probably over a century. The excavation during the basement dig out had found the tributary called Counters Creek flowed from Notting Hill Gate to below the high street.
The problem was solved by installing a temporary steel barrier, subsoil drainage and waterproof concrete to the basement floor and walls either side. This added a huge cost to the project which could not be foreseen or expected.