London's lost rivers are being opened up for new homes:Goodman's Fields in Aldgate to be transformed into new 1,000-home neighbourhood

One of London's lost rivers, The Walbrook, is back in the limelight thanks to land in Aldgate being transformed into thousands of new homes, a hotel, shops, bars and restaurants - and a spectacular water feature marking its past.

The Westbourne, one of London’s lost rivers, was celebrated at last week’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Running under the site of the show, the river’s silent ebb and flow was the inspiration for a gorgeous garden designed by Jo Thompson, while part of its invisible route into the Thames will be traced by an overground path and water sculptures at nearby Chelsea Barracks, being transformed into a posh quarter with 448 homes.

Other hidden rivers are being opened up as part of new housing projects. The Ravensbourne, which runs through Lewisham, frames a new town centre park and blocks of flats, while large developments at King’s Cross, Earls Court, Aldgate and Vauxhall are being built above rivers that once flowed openly through London.

The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, as it runs in a tunnel under the bank’s vaults before reaching the Thames in east London. In the Middle Ages, Goodman’s Fields, Aldgate, was a farm bordering a tributary of the Walbrook and supplying the City’s food needs.

Now the land is being transformed into a new neighbourhood with more than 1,000 new homes, a hotel, shops, bars and restaurants plus public spaces and a spectacular water feature marking its past. Prices from £708,000. Call 020 3217 1000.

Oval cricket ground is oval because it was built into a bend of River Effra in Vauxhall. This waterway was filled in during the 19th-century, when industry flourished, and at Keybridge, a scheme of 441 homes, architects are reviving the legacy with traditional brick buildings and an acre of open space, a nod to the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens that brought hordes of people to the riverbank during the Victorian era. Prices from £640,000. Call 020 7205 4152.


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