The story of the Fleet is one of almost inevitable but inexorable decline. Over the period of just a few hundred years it went from a river to a brook. From there, despite a brief renaissance as a canal it became a ditch and ultimately was consigned to the depths as a drain. Human intervention has consigned the river to its labyrinthine underground tomb. Yet take a visit to the ponds of Hampstead and you can still see it, at its source, perhaps something akin to how it looked before we arrived.