Digging up the facts about London’s lost rivers, Jan 19

The Wandle is not the only “lost” river of south London, as the first history talk of the new year for the Norwood Society will demonstrate, when Jon Newman, author of the recently published River Effra, South London’s secret spine, is the guest speaker.


The Effra is generally accepted as rising somewhere in the hills near Crystal Palace and flowed, or flows, northwards towards the Thames through Dulwich, Brixton and The Oval.

It has, of course, long since been pushed underground in culverts, but any bucolic notions of an idyllic Surrey spring are dismissed in Newman’s book, which is frank about the raw sewage which flowed in the Effra and prompted Victorian local authorities to cover over what had become an open sewer.

As one reveiw of Newman’s book states, “What he does do is shine a light on the development of Brixton, London’s sewage system and the refusal of ‘lost’ rivers to go away.”

Newman’s talk for the Norwood Society is from 7.30pm on January 19 at the Upper Norwood Library, 39 Westow Hill, SE19 1TJ.

Norwood Society meetings are free and include refreshments, but donations of at least £3 per person are requested to help defray our costs.

For more details about the Norwood Society’s meetings, contact norwoodshistory@btinternet.com

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