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Time Travel Explorer Blog

Where am I?

by Peter Watts 6. June 2011 11:53

So where do you think this is then?

It's now part of Central London, but all you can really tell from the 1746 map is that it was once a body of water surrounded by fields. Is it even worth taking a guess?

Shall we step forward in time and see if it helps?

Hmmm, 1799 and not much has changed, although if you look carefully you can just make out the words 'Pimlico Wharf' on the road encircling the north of the water. So at least we have a vague location to work with.

Need more clues?

Here we are in 1830, and still not much has changed, other than that the water is a more fetching shade of blue, there are considerably more streets and houses, and the words 'Pimlico Wharf' are impossible to miss. Here's a nice view of Pimlico Wharf from the London Metropolitan Archives. 

The view from 1862 is very different, so before I reveal exactly where we are let me tell you a little bit more about the area's history. This was the basin for the Grosvenor Canal, which was begun in 1725 as a way to get access from the Thames to the Chelsea Waterworks Company, the crucial pumping station that supplied water from the Thames to much of London. However, in 1852 it became illegal to take drinking water from the Thamas and the Chelsea Waterworks Company moved to Surbiton. So what to do with the basin that remained? Any guesses?

Well, by 1860 it had been filled in and this had been built on its site.

As the images show, Victoria Station fits snugly into the space once filled by gallons of water. But there is just about no other indication of what the site was once used for. Still, at least we have our maps, eh?