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By Gillian Tindall
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But a look on the maps of a hundred and fifty years in the past may have proven architects all they had to recognize. possibly due to this vaguely apprehended development possibility in Kentish city, people appear to have a normal effect that the Fleet might be anyplace: any time a cellar within the zone exhibits indicators of emerging damp, stories move of individuals lifting up floorboards of their basement kitchens and discovering ‘the mattress of the Fleet’ beneath. One imagines a transparent yet shallow circulation, with brilliant, around pebbles and fronds of weeds, a number of minnows and maybe a corroded anchor or from a long-ago send. Such an anchor used to be actually present in the eighteenth century, while the part of the circulation then working open in the back of the citadel Tavern tea-garden was once dredged. No date, even conjectural, was once assigned to it, and writers commenting on it now not lengthy after appear to have imagined it as belonging to anything equivalent to a Spanish galleon, or a mythic vessel of a few distant yet resplendent golden age no longer locatable in genuine chronology. One should still probably qualify statements approximately ‘whole navies’ having as soon as arise river so far as Kentish city with the commentary that, in far-off occasions, ‘ships’ (like ‘rivers’) got here in modest sizes. it sort of feels besides the fact that most probably that the Romans sailed their boats up the Fleet: within the foundations of St Pancras outdated Church (early mediaeval, yet recognized to be at the website of an older construction or a chain of them) lie classes of Roman brick and fragments in their tiles. So maybe the church, like St Paul’s Cathedral itself, in whose reward it was once for therefore lengthy, lies at the web site of a pre-Christian temple. It used to be expectantly asserted within the eighteenth century that the bones of an elephant, delivered to Britain by means of the Romans ‘to frighten the barbarians’, have been dug up no longer faraway from the church; yet twentieth-century scholarship, with far more exact conception of the aeons of time that lie at the back of us, is extra vulnerable to treat those because the bones of a few prehistoric immense, overtaken via dying whereas looking a drink on the crackling, frozen verge of the Ice Age Fleet. Even extra again in time there are symptoms that the total quarter was once lined by way of the ocean: an unsuccessful uninteresting for water within the 19th century set out to beds of carbonised shells. Returning to a extra measurable time-scale, the proof are those: a number of major tributaries of the Fleet upward thrust close to the Vale of wellbeing and fitness on Hampstead Heath and movement in a single flow through Hampstead Ponds and South finish eco-friendly alongside Fleet highway to Gospel Oak. This movement then proceeds due south via west Kentish city, crossing Prince of Wales highway slightly below Angler’s Lane (the derivation is clear) after which keeps in a marginally extra eastwards path until eventually it crosses the reduce a part of Kentish city highway under the fortress resort, at nearly a similar position the place the Regent’s Canal has run considering the fact that 1820. yet earlier than making this move to the jap aspect of the line it's joined via its different major tributary, a move which rises within the grounds of Ken wooden, and flows down via Highgate Ponds (which are outdated reservoirs) at the fringe of Parliament Hill.