(Image: Noel Jenkins. Beck Valley Storm Water Culvert, aka Beck Burn)
Underground rivers are a fascinating reminder of Victorian engineering, as natural water courses were channelled through man-made culverts beneath Britain’s towns and cities. The Beck Valley Storm Water Culvert in Nottingham (pictured) channelled water from the overflowing River Beck beneath the city streets through the so-called “Beck Burn” and eventually into the River Trent.
According to the website of the Southwell & Nottingham Church History Project, the area around Pennyfoot Street occupied low lying land that often became waterlogged, necessitating the building of the culvert. The site writes: “The basin was regularly flooded by the overflowing River Beck as it crossed the East End of Pennyfoot Street on its way to discharge into the River Trent. Until the earlier part of the nineteenth century a wooden walk-way, elevated six to eight feet high on posts plus a hand rail, was needed to allow foot travellers to cross from Sneinton to St Maryâs Church into the higher part of the town, the location of much of the growing hosiery and lace industries. The Beck was eventually controlled in 1884 as part of the Beck Valley Storm Water Culvert scheme.”
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