You can lead a horse to water.....or maybe to Sadler’s Wells.
So to follow last summer’s horse-drawn London walks, there will be a series of evening walks on the theme of water in London: water for life and water for pleasure. Geology, engineering and entertainment as we take in the remains and sites of London’s watery history, and the more decorative water features of today.
Expect to hear about and see most of aqueducts, reservoirs, springs, wells, spas, public baths, water towers, fountains, watergates, pumps and pumping stations, lost and new rivers. Learn about cholera and epidemiology – presume the first time that word has made it into a Clog email. Discover where free water was dispensed outside Tesco’s. Enjoy the lavish Victorian architecture of the water industry. Learn about the protectionist behaviour of the Honourable Company of Water Tankard Bearers. See the Devil’s Conduit.
A word to manage expectations. Apart from the New River, most of these walks won’t follow riversides. Much of London’s water history has been buried or replaced as water supply has become safer over the years. So sometimes there’s not much to see but the stories are worth hearing. The leader will bring along some old pictures and maps of how things were. But he will also try to include other London ephemera on some of the routes – Charlie Chaplin’s garden, a former Catholic friary, the Cinema Museum in a workhouse......
The detailed programme is still to be finalised but will include:
Tuesday 26 April - Water in the City: London’s first lost river
Thursday 21 April - Chelsea Waterworks – from reservoir to source
Wednesday 4 May - Streatham Wells and around
The 17th century New River
Backwaters of Lambeth
Wells, Spas and Reservoirs of Hampstead
All dates are provisional at this stage; dates for the others will follow later. The leader will send out more details of the first walk before Easter.
A few other possibilities are being researched and he will schedule these later in the summer. Woodberry Wetlands is scheduled to open in the spring; if it’s open in the evening we will try to visit.
Currently there are no plans for water polo, tap dancing or similar events but the year is yet young....