History of the river

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Counters Creek was originally a small stream that flowed from Kensal Green in a southerly direction through Little Wormwood Scrubs, North Kensington, Earls Court then between Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge & Brompton Cemetery into Chelsea Creek, where it flows into the Thames beside Lots Road power station. 

It formed an important part of the natural drainage in the area. Rainwater would find its way into the creek and be carried down into the Thames. It also had another use in earlier times. Before London had a combined sewerage system, residents would throw their sewage into the river where it would make its way downstream towards the Thames.

There are no records suggesting that it was navigable until the lower two miles of Counters Creek was made into a 100 feet wide channel called the Kensington Canal in 1828. The income from the canal was less than anticipated and it was purchased by a railway company in 1839.

After part of Counters Creek was filled in to form a railway the shortened canal was used for barges delivering coal to Lots Road power station which powered the London Underground network. This last commercial operation on the canal was ended in the 1960’s after the power station converted from burning coal to oil.

Modern day evidence can be seen either side of Lots Road Bridge - Looking towards the Thames is Chelsea Creek beside the disused power station and on the other side of the bridge a small neglected section of the canal entrance.

Beside West Brompton Station the remains of Counters Creek can be seen in a ditch after heavy rainfall beside the westbound platform of the station. Remains of the original canal bridge can also be spotted adjacent to this station.

This information is taken by permission from London’s Lost Rivers by Paul Talling