The New River. Which isn't either...
December 10, 2002 6:39 AM   Subscribe

When the Romans ran out of fresh water, they built aqueducts. When C17 Londoners ran out, they built The New River. Snaking from Chadwell and Amwell springs to the New River Head, it's not new, it's not a river, but it is the largest body of non-tidal flowing water in Europe and one of few local habitats for dragonflies [geocities].

Over 40 miles in length, and taking just 4 years to complete, the river was opened in 1613. But it ran over budget and didn't make a profit until 1633, two years after it's designer and chief financier, Hugh Myddelton, had died.
posted by twine42 (6 comments total)
And I lived within spitting distance of it for 15 years an never knew. So I thought I'd bore you guys with it. ;) It's amazing how something like this has so many painfully bad websites written about it, none of which contain any great information...
posted by twine42 at 6:43 AM on December 10, 2002

I walk past a stretch of that occasionally. It looks like a canal, but the bridge over it is about 1 foot from the surface, so it clearly never got used for transport, and I was a bit confused by it. Now I know, thanks.
posted by tomsk at 7:36 AM on December 10, 2002

Very interesting...what makes Metafilter a fun place to learn.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:18 AM on December 10, 2002

Here's pictures of Great Amwell, one of the New River's sources in Hertfordshire, about 20 miles north of London. It's a sleepy but interestingly unspoiled village with some very attractive architecture from around the time that the New River was built.

This one shows the kind of bridge tomsk mentions.

For the geographically curious, here's what the county authorities has to say about the village.
posted by normy at 8:53 AM on December 10, 2002

normy - of course the downside of those bridges is that you tend to miss them when you want to turn off the main road to go over them. ;)

I think it's this monument that says it was opened in 1608 when it was actually started in 1609. ;)
posted by twine42 at 9:10 AM on December 10, 2002

Here's some more pictures of Amwell that give more of an idea of the flavour of the place.
[self-link, and apologies for the crappy © notices from a now-defunct site.]
posted by normy at 10:32 AM on December 10, 2002

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