Remnants of a river
A stone plaque on the corner of Lyndhurst Road marks the spot where a drinking fountain provided locals with clean spring water from the Tyburn. The fountain has long gone so I took a swig from my water bottle in remembrance.
Navigating the corners of north London by Swiss Cottage and South hampstead, I headed towards Regent's Park. Whatever beautiful Victorian houses sat at street level, I knew that underneath was a sewer into which the Tyburn was channelled in the 1870s. I paused at the junction of Norfolk and Woronzow Roads to stand on the spot where the eastern tributary of the Tyburn meets the main stream. Zigzagging through a few more residential streets I crossed over Regent’s Canal by Chalbert Bridge which carries the Tyburn in a sewer pipe into Regent’s Park, although there was sadly no sign of it.
Despite running for almost three kilometres, I had little sense of the river since leaving the fountain plaque. I had higher hopes for Regent’s Park, however, as I knew that the Y-shaped boating pond had originally been filled by the Tyburn and another smaller tributary arising just below London Zoo to the east. The lake – a haven for ‘nearly 1,400 recorded species’ of wildlife, according to a nearby nature board – has, since the 1830s, been fed with clean water from boreholes rather than the Tyburn, but the river still flows beneath it in a pipe. I stopped on the bridge by the island at the top of the pond to look out for some of the famed wildlife and was lucky enough to catch a heron fly by. No sign, however, of the wild brown trout or salmon that the Tyburn Angling Society hope to catch, should it one day be restored as London’s ‘premium salmon fishing river’