Britain’s lost rivers resurrected and freed to go with the flow

Lost and found: left, the river Medlock in Philips Park, Manchester, was culverted a century ago; in south London, the Quaggy has been returned to nature.

The brick-lined culvert that runs through the centre of Manchester’s Philips Park has all the charm of an open sewer. There are no grassy banks, no fish, no reeds or other aquatic plants, no signs of life. Apart from a few broken bottles and an occasional rusting supermarket trolley, the waterway – built at the turn of the 20th century – is featureless and sterile for its entire mile-long course through the park.

The 2m-wide channel could pass for a section of the city’s sewage works. In fact, this turns out to be one of the major rivers of north-west England, the Medlock. Like dozens of other natural waterways in Britain it was channelled into culverts – others were buried in tunnels – in the wake of the country’s industrial expansion during Victorian and Edwardian times.

To the industrialists back then, rivers – apart from supplying water for dye works or taking away waste – were considered to be inconveniences and so were diverted, often underground. The end result was the creation of a network of lost rivers across the nation.

But now the Medlock is being reclaimed as part of a campaign that ecologists hope will return many of these lost waterways to their natural glory.

Read the full story here.


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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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