infobox UK place
official_name= Ward of Walbrook
map_type= Greater London
country= England
region= London
london_borough= City of London
latitude= 51.51240
longitude= -0.09198
os_grid_reference= TQ325810
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= EC
postcode_district= EC4
dial_code= 020
constituency_westminster = Cities of London and Westminster

Walbrook is the name of a ward, a street and a subterranean river in the City of London.

Underground river

The river played a key role in the Roman settlement of Londinium, the city now known as London. It is thought that the river acquired its name from the fact that it ran through or under the London Wall. The stream started in what is now Finsbury and flowed right through the centre of the walled city into the River Thames, near to where Cannon Street Railway Bridge is now located, splitting the settlement in two. It was probably used for fresh drinking water and also for carrying sewage down to the Thames. During roman times it was also used for transport with the dead of navigation at Bucklersbur where the Romans built a port and temple to Mithras on the east bank. The temple was discovered and subsequently excavated during rebuilding work after World War II. The Roman Governor's palace was also located on the east bank of the stream, near to its entry point into the Thames. It is said that, when Londinium (also known then as "Caer Lundein") fell to the invading Saxons in the late 6th century, all the British (Celtic) inhabitants were forced to live on the east bank of the Walbrook while the Saxons would reside on the west. This ancient division endured as the east side — or East End — continued to suffer in poverty while the west side — or West End — flourished.Fact|date=February 2007Perhaps a more likely reason for this is that the prevailing winds over London blow from the West. This naturally carries the soot, fumes and odours from the "Great Wen" eastwards and makes living in the East End somewhat less salubrious than living in the West End. People with the money to do so naturally enough chose to live in the cleaner West End. Nowadays actions such as the Clean Air Act 1956 and the general clean up of industry has somewhat reduced this atmospheric effect, the differences in subsequent infrastructure, however, remain. In the 1860s excavations by General Augustus Pitt Rivers uncovered a large number of human skulls, and almost no other bones, in the bed of the Walbrook. [Lewis Thorpe, "The History of the Kings of Britain", Penguin, 1966, p. 19] This has been seen as reminiscent of a passage from Geoffrey of Monmouth's "History of the Kings of Britain" (ca. 1136) in which a legion of Roman soldiers who surrendered to Asclepiodotus after being besieged in London were decapitated by his allies the Venedoti, and their heads thrown into a river called the "Gallobroc". [Geoffrey of Monmouth, "Historia Regum Britanniae" ] However, Geoffrey's "History" is notoriously unreliable, and some historians consider these skulls to be a result of the rebellion of Boudica. [John Morris (1982), "Londinium: London in the Roman Empire" p. 111.] As late as the early 19th century part of the branch that runs from Islington was open and powered a lead mill.cite book |title=London under London a subterranean guide |last=Trench |first= Richard |coauthors=Hillman Ellis |year=1985 |publisher= John Murray (publishers) Ltd |isbn=0719540801 |pages=pp27-29]

During the 'Carnival Against Capitalism' on June 18 1999, a fire hydrant was let-off on Dowgate Hill by Reclaim the Streets to symbolically represent the freeing of the Walbrook. [Wat Tyler(2003), "Dancing at the Edge of Chaos: a Spanner in the Works of Global Capitalism, in, Notes From Nowhere (Eds.) We Are Everywhere: the Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism" pp.188-195 (Verso, London/New York 2003) ISBN 1-85984-447-2]

The Walbrook is one of many "lost" rivers of London, the most famous of which is the River Fleet.

Ward of Walbrook

The Walbrook river now runs completely underground and the only evidence above ground that the stream is there is a street called Walbrook, which runs parallel to its course. On the street is a church called St Stephen Walbrook, which originally stood on the west bank of the stream, but was rebuilt around 1439 on the east side. In 1666 the church burned down in the Great Fire of London and Sir Christopher Wren built a new church there in 1672 to replace it, which still stands. The historic London Stone, which would have been a highly important religious symbol in Roman as well as pre-Roman London, is also minutes from Walbrook, as is the present-day Bank of England.

Walbrook is one of 25 wards in the City of London, each electing an Alderman, to the Court of Aldermen and Commoners (the City equivalent of a Councillor) to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City of London are eligible to stand.


ee also

* List of rivers in England
* Subterranean rivers of London
* Roman sites in the United Kingdom

External links

* [http://streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=532592&y=181001&z=1&sv=walbrook&st=6&tl=Walbrook,+London,+EC4n&searchp=newsearch.srf&mapp=newmap.srf Map showing the location of the street named Walbrook]
* [http://streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=531891&y=180900&z=1&sv=Queen+Victoria+Street&st=6&tl=Queen+Victoria+Street,+London,+EC4v&searchp=newsearch.srf&mapp=newmap.srf Map showing the location of remains the temple of Mithras]

* [http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/render_page.php?id=WALB2&title=Walbrook/ Map of Early Modern London: Walbrook Ward] - Historical Map and Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's London (Scholarly)

River item line|upstream=River Fleet (north)
downstream=River Neckinger (south)

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Look at other dictionaries:

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