The actual title of the map is Map of the intended diversion of the New River, at Hornsey, north London; the section of the river marked out to be filled in shown in green, with the new diversion in blue, leading to the reservoirs, 1861.
You can see that the river used to run along Nightingale Lane and then snake along behind the buildings on the south side of the High Street. This included the Three Compasses; the river used to give the pub's garden a wonderfully romantic aspect.
The Ordnance Survey Map of 1863, shows the diversion had been carried out and the river running in its new course.
Whilst the author of the map is given as unknown, it would seem logical to suppose that it was drawn up by the New River Company or the local Parish / Council.
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So few buildings!
The reason why the new river snaked around Hornsey is that it was following the 100 foot contour line and the reason why this line bulged out around Hornsey is that it was enclosing the valley of the Moselle. Over the years there have been many places where the new river was straightened with aqueducts or tunnels. This one was dug to run the river alongside the new railway line in 1860.