Rivers, Right Angles and Wrong Connections

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

The River Moselle takes a zigzag course through Haringey, as if trying to escape our attempts to control it.

The straight lines and right turns of its route from Queen’s Wood to Markfield Park are sadly proof that it failed.

In the 1800s as North London became more developed and land was needed for factories and homes it was the Moselle that was sacrificed.

So the bends and curves, natural edges and areas that would flood during heavy rain have gone. Instead we have a river that runs mostly in concrete channels.

There are a few places where there is proof that the future can be different. If you go to Lordship Recreation Ground the straight channel has gone, to be replaced by a winding bed. This restoration project is a more natural state for the river of course, but also helps prevents homes and streets from getting flooded. The Moselle peeks from under the concrete once more in Tottenham Cemetery. From there it is back into the concrete straight jacket till it joins the Lea at Markfield Park.

If you do get close to the Moselle however you’ll probably smell it before you see it. Waste water from thousands of homes, oils and dirt from our roads and goodness knows where pollute it. Killing is quietly as it flows through Haringey. Some call the Moselle a ‘lost river’ I prefer to see it as a river we have thrown away.

This is why we started Love the Lea, a campaign for the River Lea and all its tributaries, like the Moselle http://www.thames21.org.uk/project/love-the-lea/.
The future can be different. When I went to talk to 3 classes of Year 3 children at a school in Tottenham they completely understood why we need healthy river. If we pollute them we pollute ourselves. Those young people want a Moselle that is clean and not treated like a sewer. It’s their right, and ours.
Theo Thomas theo.thomas@thames21.org.uk

Pollution where the River Moselle joins the River Lea
No swimming or bathing - polluted waters - sign


It's really great to see the River Moselle flowing free from its concrete culvert in Lordship Rec; its flowery banks are really beautiful, as are the three new bridges.