Bringing the River Colne Through Paddington

Before continuing the story of what actually happened, George Toplis describes a most imaginative scheme by architectural artist John Martin which would have transformed Tyburia. He planned to bring the River Colne to a huge reservoir at what is now Paddington Station and so provide clean drinking for London, in place of the horrid 'Thames mixture'. Excess water would have been diverted through bathing and recreational lakes into a landscaped Bayswater Park, the Serpentine, the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Green Park and so on to the Thames. The water was to fall from one Thames terrace to the next, in a series of waterfalls, to oxygenate and revitalize it.

The scheme was too expensive and could perhaps have been created only by Louis the Fourteenth, but it would have transformed London and provided London with the vital clean drinking water several epidemics earlier.

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John Martin's unexecuted plan to bring the River Colne through Paddington.

When Cockerell died he was succeeded by George Gutch, who had been the surveyor to the Canal Company. In 1838 Gutch published his plan for Tyburnia and this remained the basic layout until the redevelopment of the estate in the 1950s (Map 36). He increased the number of houses and their size, eliminating Cockerell's crescent but building extra squares with landscaped gardens. Everywhere the stress was on wide streets, gardens, and painted stucco, so that one almost expected to find the sea round the corner and the domes of the Brighton Pavilion glinting in the bracing air.


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Updated January 20, 2011