The Gardens of the Fleet

Benches, swales and pocket parks would link the gardens along the Fleet.

Traffic on Farringdon Road would be culverted from Clerkenwell to Blackfriars creating opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy a new linear park.

Community gardens and wildfowers in Kentish Town.

Location map showing the five-mile course of the Fleet.

The railway tracks at the junction of Farringdon and Clerkenwell would be covered over to create a beautiful garden.

Returning to Wren's vision as illustrated in Rocque's map of the 1740s.

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The Gardens of the Fleet

Restore the river that helped make the city

This project would rediscover the forgotten and hidden landscape along the banks of the River Fleet, once famed for its beautiful gardens. The course of the River Fleet is approximately five miles, can be walked in just over an hour and cycled in half an hour. 

The lost river rises on Hampstead Heath close to the remains of Neolithic settlements and enters the Thames underneath Blackfriars Bridge, where the body of Roberto Calvi was found hanging in 1982.

Between these two points a story of London unfolds that is both life giving and morbid. The River Fleet was a source of water, power, food, transport, washing and spirituality; it was also the bearer of disease, flooding, sewerage and fiercely fought disputes. The fresh waters were contaminated by human settlement and eventually subsumed into the subterranean drainage network of Bazelgette.

Today, the river itself can only be spotted as a small trickle connecting the Hampstead ponds, but its evidence is palpable throughout its course, from Fleet Road in Hampstead and Anglers road in Kentish Town, to the Bridges at Kings Cross, Cowcross Street and Clerkenwell, the high level viaducts at Roseberry Avenue and Holborn, and the gardens it watered at Hatton Garden, Vine Hill Saffron Hill, Pear Tree Walk. 

The Fleet Gardens project would connect the existing gardens along the banks of the Fleet and introduce new ones. The gardens and the communities to which they connect would be linked by a physical flowing stream, not always water, that will evolve into Sustainable Urban Drainage channels, planters, swales, benches and pocket parks for young and old. This stream will be the physical and recognisable link along the course of the lost river. 


- Creating new parks
- Lost rivers of London


- City of London
- Islington
- Westminster

Submitted by

Cazenove Architects

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