+44 7444 778207 info@wondersoflondon.com
+44 7444 778207 info@wondersoflondon.com

River Effra, the lost river of South London

The Effra once flowed through Brixton until it met the Thames right here in Vauxhall, in front of MI6, the British secret services building.

Effra Lost River South London
© Wonders of London

There are technically 25 tributaries of the Thames in London, and the general consensus is that there are 12 hidden rivers, including the River Fleet and the River Tyburn.

Most begin in or travel under London parks, completely hidden from view, flowing into underground canals and then flowing into the Thames.

One of these is the River Effra, the main lost river of South London, now used as part of the sewage system.

Effra Lost River South London
© Wonders of London

Just imagine, the Effra is said to have been used by Queen Elizabeth I to travel to visit Sir Walter Raleigh!

And furthermore, a local story tells that in Victorian times, at West Norwood cemetery, a coffin sank into the ground falling right into the River Effra, floated downstream to Vauxhall until it entered the Thames, where it was later found.

There is a song by the British group The Effras, called ‘Down in the Effra’, which was written based on this story!

If you’re curious you can watch the video of the river Effra in London on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin!

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