The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Fleet
FLEET, an appellation sometimes used in place of the more common word creek; an inlet or arm of the sea, as North-fleet, etc.; more specifically the name of a tidal stream, contributary to the Thames. In olden times it was partially navigable. It gradually degenerated into an open sewer and changed its name from Fleet River to Fleet Ditch. In modern times it has been covered up, but still forms part of London's sewerage system. The origin of its name is disputed, being by some ascribed to the swiftness of its current, and claimed by others to have been derived from the word float. Originally it was called the River of Wells. Its source is in Hampstead Heath. See Fleet Street.