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Local underground streams

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Posted on Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 - 11:08 am:   

I've fairly recently moved to the area and have found that the very back of my garden is swamp-like. The ground is totally sodden and we seem to have an impromptu pond.

Neighbours tell me that the area has many undergound streams and water-ways, that they have areas in their gardens similarly and that, there's nothing can be done.

However, I wasn't convinced and since work has been underway on the water mains by Horniman Musueum, my swamp and pond seem to be rapidly drying up. Something that didn't even happen previously when we had a brief spell good weather earlier in the Summer.

I've noted the string on here about the lack of water pressure and wondered whether anyone had an similar experiences, as it seems to put in doubt the theory of underground streams?
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Posted on Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 - 05:36 pm:   

If you look around the Tesco Petrol Station on London Road you will notice that there are a couple of wet spots / streams leading into Honor Oak Road. We were a resident of Honor Oak Road a couple of years ago, we suffered from low pressure problems. We asked Thames water to investigate on a number of occasions but we never had a satisfactory answer.
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Posted on Wednesday, 22 September, 2004 - 07:03 am:   

To get an idea where roughly do you reside
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Posted on Wednesday, 22 September, 2004 - 08:41 am:   

We're in one of the Roads that run between Honour Oak Road and Devonshire and for what it's worth are close to the bottom of the hill, rather than the top.

We had originally happily bought into the idea of the underground streams and therefore never dreamt of calling in Thames Water, but it does seem somewhat of a coincidence that my 'stream' seems to be drying up with on-going work on the mains.
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Posted on Wednesday, 22 September, 2004 - 12:34 pm:   

If Ewelme Road then there is gas works at present , cannot remember water recently. Perhaps you mean Benson or Tyson.?
Do not know of any streams locally.
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Posted on Thursday, 23 September, 2004 - 11:32 am:   

The present day train tracks were built over a canal, which was used to transport logs for ship building in Depford.
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Posted on Thursday, 23 September, 2004 - 06:28 pm:   

True , Elizabeth , but the railway did not follow the canal all the way. It left the current railway about Ewelme Road then cut along north of devonshire road to david's road
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Posted on Thursday, 23 September, 2004 - 11:57 pm:   

A thread that covered SE23 history would be great. Can we start a new thread on these topics or is there a web site where we can pick this information up?

Any one have any suggestions?
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Posted on Friday, 24 September, 2004 - 08:50 am:   

Undreground streams / rivers run through Forest Hill in several locations.

From the Top of Forest hill somewhere on Honour Oak Road down through to Devonshire road runs one.

From Sunderland Mount on Sunderland Road runs another in between the houses on Sunderland Road, and Trilby / Kemble roads. After a down pour, it is more than just a trickle or drain-a-way, you can actually see the streem rising out of the ground and taking over the joining rear gardens along the whole route.

As for water pressue, i used to live in Honor Oak Road, Havelock House and for the seven years we were there, I never once suffered from poor water pressure. In fact friends who stay ofton commented on how powerfull the shower was! and that was just a hose attachment.

When we moved down to Kemble Road in the new houses, we were told by nieghbours that the old Sweet Factory that used to stand where our house is, was closed down due to the condition of the building. One corner of the old building was effectively washed away by the underground streAm. (something to do with the footings being wash away)

When they built the new houses, that form Soper Close and one on Kemble Road, the builders filled in the stream at the point of original errosion and re routed the streem into the back gardens of Sunderland Road hence the rising tide during a storm or large downpour.
Hilltop Plumber
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Posted on Friday, 24 September, 2004 - 10:36 am:   

However - especially in a block of flats - it is most unlikely that your shower runs from the mains. The pressure is entirely a function of how far you are below the level of the water storage tank. This is borne out by the fact that I live v close to your old flat but on the top floor and the pressure is OK but unimpressive. Three floors height is round about the equivalent of decent mains pressure.
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Posted on Friday, 24 September, 2004 - 12:56 pm:   

At primary school (20 years ago) I was taught that there was an underground stream running along London Road opposite Sainsburys, which is why the flats and shops are further back from the road, compared to the other side. This would make sense if it was coming down from the corner of Honor Oak, as mentioned by Hils.
It is possible that water mains work, or building work somewhere uphill from you, has disturbed the course of the underground stream.
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Posted on Friday, 24 September, 2004 - 02:15 pm:   

This thread is getting very intriguing! Here's my tuppence worth. John Rocque's survey map of our area shows Hensford Pond. Its location would appear to have been roughly at the lower end of the Play Park opposite the Horniman. The underground stream running down London Road past Eliot Bank was probably fed from the pond.Is the running water, exposed by the poor road surface on London Road, part of the underground stream and not a broken water main in Forest Hill after all?
Steve Grindlay
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Posted on Friday, 24 September, 2004 - 05:33 pm:   

Hensford Pond is more likely Hensford Pound, where animals that strayed off Sydenham Common onto Dulwich College Estates land would be impounded until reclaimed by their owners (on payment of a fee, of course). Rocque made a fair number of spelling mistakes. Perhaps, as a French Huguenot emigre, he sometimes had difficulty understanding the locals.
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Posted on Saturday, 25 September, 2004 - 03:40 pm:   

Take the point about possible misspelling but I believe Rocque's map correctly identified the local pond. He simply recorded what he saw: a pond at the foot of the hill. As this was a rural area, there would have been a need for water for animals, impounded or not. There are a number of underground streams in the immediately surrounding area on this southern side of the South Circular. These streams are presumably fed from water draining off the Sydenham Ridge.

Three examples east to west are: under the grassed areas of the Forest Estate at Eliot Bank, in the enclosed wooded area between Eliot Bank and Sydenham Rise, and within the Play Park. The triangular shape of the land which now holds our Play Park is clearly identifiable as open land on Robert Treswell's 1609 map. Treswell's map predates Rocque's survey by a number of years i.e. before the arrival of Edward Alleyn and subsequent creation of the Dulwich Estate and their "ownership" of this land, achieved through fencing off part of the common. The line of the current roadway at Sydenham Rise follows one of the old tracks across the common.
Steve Grindlay
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Posted on Saturday, 25 September, 2004 - 07:24 pm:   

Marion, I certainly wasn’t questioning the existence of either underground streams or springs. The valleys created by streams enclosed during the mid-19th century can still be made out, and of course springs led to the creation of both Sydenham and Dulwich wells. However, I’m still not convinced about “Hensford Pond”. Rocque was fairly meticulous about the way he used shading to indicate, for example, woodland, orchards, arable land etc. He shaded bodies of water with closely spaced parallel lines, following the contours of the banks. The shading of Hensford Pond follows the convention he used for grazing and pasture land.

I was intrigued to learn of Robert Treswell’s 1609 map. I know that Ralph Treswell (?his son) mapped various parts of Lewisham, but I don’t believe he ventured out as far as Sydenham or Dulwich. Could you tell me where I might see or get a copy of Robert’s map, please? Then I might be convinced!

Apologies if this post is a veering off topic.
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Posted on Sunday, 26 September, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

Don't apologise for being off topic. Its a refreshing change from interminable posts about pubs and coffee shops.
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Posted on Sunday, 26 September, 2004 - 05:35 pm:   

We live in Ewelme and have suffered recent flooding into our home from rising ground water after the recent sustained downpours, which gave little chance for run-off- the water table simply peaked and the water came up through the garage floor. Because the previous occupants put in an adjoining door between the garage and the house, and the house was lower, the water came pouring in through our kitchen and down to the basement.
Our back gardens are lower than our houses, and are often flooded in winter. As a protective measure, we believe, our houses were built with deep basements to cope with this situation.
After the third flood this summer, our insurance company refused to handle any more claims so we have had our drains tested and had Thames Water out to investgate leaks, but nothing was amiss. Hence the rising ground water theory still stands.This is a natural phenomenon and hence not an insurable risk- so any subsequent damage will have to be paid from our own pockets. We have created a barrier now to prevent water from entering the house, but can't do anything about the garage, which is used as a utility space.

If you walk up Tyson from Devonshire, you will see a short row of late 1950/1960 houses on your left- there is a gap between these to allow the stream to run through down to Devonshire.
There are a number of streams running down this hill and no doubt they change direction from time to time.
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Posted on Tuesday, 28 September, 2004 - 09:02 pm:   

See entry under Water Pressure re turn off of all local mains later tonight.
Ian London Wildlife Trust
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Posted on Monday, 15 November, 2004 - 02:40 pm:   

The small trickle known as the Ambrook can still be seen above ground in Sydenham Hill Wood Local Nature Reserve. It starts near the disused railway tunnel and flows off to Dulwich golf course.I believe that most of the stream has been put into a culvert but any information out there would be of great interest. The Ambrook eventually feeds into the Effra which aparently runs beneath the streets of Brixton.
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Posted on Wednesday, 17 November, 2004 - 01:39 am:   

Ian, how can I get involved with the London Wildlife Trust? I know you have regular volunteer days in Sydenham Wood but I'm not sure whereabouts you meet. I'll be coming on foot from the Horniman area.

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Posted on Wednesday, 17 November, 2004 - 04:21 pm:   

I'd love to get involved too!

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