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A London water feature ends

This is The Rill, a popular stretch of flowing water at More London. It no longer exists. Originally three water features were built as part of the new development between London Bridge and Tower Bridge in the early 2000s. The Water Benches (alongside Tooley Street), The Rill, extending 260m (or almost 1000 feet) to where the third feature of the set, The Riverside, could be found. The latter is a series of fountains very popular with the kids.

All three water features were designed by The Fountain Workshop who are based in Chatham, Kent and opened in 2002. The Rill was designed to form a link with the other two, not only that it created a visual link between the Shard and Tower Bridge and too has been very popular, with young ones wanting to paddle their feet down it.

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The Rill can still be discerned even though its channel is now almost obliterated

Unfortunately its now seen as a health and safety risk as people constantly slip into it and there must have been a number of minor injuries. There have been no major incidents the staff tell me, but all the same, it is being removed. I suppose management (or perhaps the insurers of the development for all we know) decided the feature was no longer sustainable.

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The old watercourse with new setts ready to put in place, along with a part that’s practically complete

As the above picture shows, special ‘L’ shaped stones had to be used where the foot crossings were located. In the plain sections of The Rill square 80 x 80mm stone blocks were used to fill in the water channel and make the surface completely level.

Its a shame really as it was a nice water feature, some will think its health and safety gone mad. Well its had a run of sixteen years which is good considering it was even approved in the first place! When I first saw it I had wondered how such a feature could have been allowed. Evidently it was permitted and many people came to like it. I took lots of pictures of it over the sixteen years and saw quite a number of near misses. Yes people stumbled, one or two even slipped into it, but no-one the worse for wear however.

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Two new rows of stone setts either side narrow The Rill to just one stone’s width before being filled completely. The stones are 80mm x 80mm and of various length according to where they need to be cut

Before the stones are laid a damp proof membrane is laid down, presumably some sort of drainage will still be needed as the watercourse will be left in situ beneath new paving.

It seems the decision to remove The Rill was taken quite rapidly. The planning applications were submitted on May 16th and almost straightaway work began to removing the water feature. Just two weeks later, a small length of the old watercourse still exists by Tooley Street. In just a few days time The Rill will be no more.

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The top end of The Rill (the outline can just be discerned) where the water began its 260m flow down to Tooley Street

I have been assured the other two features (Water Benches and The Riverside) are most definitely here to stay.

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A sort of ‘Schwebebahn’ view along whats left of The Rill by Tooley Street!

A few of my recent pictures of The Rill (including that at the top of page)taken in 2017/18.

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View along almost the entire length of The Rill!

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The Rill was very popular with the kids. They would paddle in it. In 2017 I spotted this boy riding his bike along it!

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Lady stumbles as she tries to cross The Rill…

The Rill must have been a little bit of a risk especially for the many women who work in the various companies around here. I saw this woman almost stumble as she tried to step across in high heels, so I suppose the infilling of The Rill has completely negated these sort of risks.

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