Sloane Square pictured in the 1920s – along with the culvert which carries the river (Picture: The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
Whether you travel through London by bus, Tube or on foot, there are plenty of sights to see wherever you go.
There’s a wealth of history throughout our capital – including under our feet.
The River Thames is the main river running through London, dividing the north and south, and the Northern, Victoria, Waterloo & City and Bakerloo lines all run underneath the river.
There are plenty of Underground stations where you can emerge at street level and get a view of the iconic river, from Westminster’s Bridge Street exit to Temple and Embankment.
But there is another lesser-known river running through London – the River Westbourne.
Starting in Hampstead, the River Westbourne traces its course through Kilburn, Bayswater, and Paddington, skirts beneath the east of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, winds through central Chelsea, and finally converges with the River Thames at Chelsea Bridge.
The station looks a bit different now – but the blue culvert is still carrying the River Westbourne (Picture: Independently London/Flickr)
But its journey takes an unexpected turn at Sloane Square.
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In 1868, during the early days of the London Underground, engineers faced the daunting task of connecting the city with new lines.
When confronted with the challenge of building Sloane Square station over the river, they directed the Westbourne straight through the station.
The result means there’s subterranean river flowing above our heads as we wait for our Tube.
The river’s journey through Sloane Square is facilitated by a remarkable feat of 19th-century engineering – a culvert.
A large iron pipe, suspended from girders, seamlessly blends with the station’s architecture.
Most passengers wouldn’t guess it’s a river – they’d likely assume it’s a small bridge or simply another element of the Victorian design.
The River Westbourne’s path through Sloane Square even managed to survive World War II, MyLondon reports.
The station was hit by a bomb blast that claimed lives and destroyed infrastructure, the iron pipe carrying the Westbourne remained unscathed.
Its flow is also almost completely silent, and often inaudible over the din of commuters travelling from A to B and the whoosh of Tube trains entering and leaving the station.
So the Westbourne is a fantastic hidden part of London.
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