London is an awesome city above ground – and it is just as amazing beneath the surface. The latest pencil drawing from Stephen Walter is London Subterranea – a map of the lost treasures of our beautiful capital city.
I think we are all aware of the debt we owe to Joseph Bazalgette and his unparalleled efforts to rid London of our ever increasing waste – and that all of his magnificent and innovative acts of engineering are all invisible, out of sight beneath our feet but still fulfilling their original purpose more than 125 years later…
Well almost everything is out of sight… Did you know that Crossness Pumping Station, originally opened in 1865 has now been fully restored and is open to the public? One of the few places that everyone can visit to enjoy the splendour of pure Victorian engineering artistry. Truly beautiful!
Other things hidden away for years but now accessible to everyone are the Imperial War Museum’s Cabinet War Rooms – the amazing underground bunkers used for strategic planning and as a blitz-safe haven for Churchill and his cabinet during WWII. Now a great visitor attraction with many excellent educational and atmospheric installations. Hidden beneath The Treasury and extending well beyond that – Churchill’s war rooms are definitely worth a visit – you’ll learn something I am sure!
Perhaps equally as famous – maybe more so today as the river that gave the famous newspaper street it’s name – the River Fleet is the most well-known and largest of London’s subterranean rivers. Watch it meet the Thames under Blackfriars Bridge – but even better, read all about it’s history to discover where, how and why it is buried beneath the metropolis that so many call home.
If you fancy a tour of these amazing locations then the you can use this great guided tour provider (you’ll need to check when they are doing the underground one) – or you can do it yourself by following this little map provided by The Londonist. If you don’t feel quite so adventurous, or if you are not in London anytime soon then you can always ask Santa to buy you one of these two books: Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London or London’s Lost Rivers.