The Ravensbourne

When I was fifteen or sixteen, one of the poems I remember studying for my GCSE English literature was Rising Damp by UA Fanthorpe. It’s quite a nice piece about the lost rivers of London: the ancient rivers of the area, now trapped underground, diverted through tunnels. One of the rivers I remember it mentioning (although, strangely, having just Googled it, I can’t find a copy which does) is the Ravensbourne. I hadn’t thought about it in ages. This morning, though, heading out on my daily trundle, I decided to go and explore the other side of Greenwich, around Deptford. I don’t often go that way, and felt like a change. It’s a nice, pleasant area close to the Thames. After a while, I came across a river flowing through a new-looking park, a well maintained path running beside it. A sign nearby named the river, and my memories of GCSE English twenty-five years ago came flooding back: it was the Ravensbourne, now restored, cleaned, and looking rather pretty in the Spring sun. I think Mrs. Fanthorpe would be pleased.

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