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The New River
ImageChildren from three primary schools worked on the Wild About Water project, finding an old City to Hackney link.

Working from the West Reservoir Centre environmental education and watersports centre in 2006, the school groups learned about their shared heritage.  The school groups learned about their shared heritage through celebrating this special area.   It focuses on:

• the importance of water for all living things
• a designated Site of Metropolitan Importance for its water birds
• the great history of water supply to London since the time of 
  William Shakespeare and Guy Fawkes

For centuries, this site has been extremely important for the supply of water to London. It all started nearly 400 years ago : the population was increasing and water supply was becoming more and more contaminated by stinky cess pits. Stoke Newington looked very different in those days: it was surrounded by countryside and farmed fields when an amazing project - the New River - officially opened in 1613.

The New River project was first started in 1604 by Edmund Colthurst and was continued by Sir Hugh Myddleton in 1609.
It was not a natural river – it was really a trench (ten feet wide with water up to four feet deep) which drew supplies from natural springs near Ware in Hertfordshire. It first stretched for 42 miles past the countryside of Stoke Newington to the New River Head in Islington, on the outskirts of the city of London. Cleaner water was carried through the elm wood pipes to the people of London. The New River Company was soon created, which owned the New River, and charged people for the water supply.”

When the New River was finished at last the Lord Mayor of London led a huge procession in 1613.  To find out more - and to read the poem that was read out to welcome The New River - have a look at Issue 10 (it takes a little while to load).

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