diamond geezer

 Wednesday, July 04, 2007

London 2012  Walk the Olympic Park (3)
  Carpenter's Road

  30 photographs here

The western perimeter of the Olympic Park runs for over a mile alongside the natural barrier of the River Lea. If your small business is to the west of the river it survives, no matter how rundown or ramshackle. If your small business is to the east of the river it dies, no matter how wholesome or upmarket. A single narrow road bridge crosses the river between the two zones, at White Post Lane in the top right corner of Tower Hamlets. Let's head over onto the doomed side.

Kings YardTo your left, behind locked gates, stand the empty brick shells of Kings Yard. Several small businesses once made their home inside a trio of long three-storey buildings surrounding a central courtyard, including such esteemed names as Stratford Catering Equipment Manufacturing Ltd and the Bilmerton Wig Supply Centre. They've all left now, so sadly there's no longer any need for Tony's Cafe to serve up daily kebabs and cuppas between 7am and 3pm. Come 2012 Kings Yard will be transformed into the Olympic Park's Energy Centre, pumping out gas-fuelled zero-carbon goodness from a cutting-edge Combined Cooling, Heating and Power Plant. On the opposite side of the road a number of more modern industrial estates are waiting to be wiped away to make room for the Basketball Arena. The Royal Opera House's scenery and costume workshop is moving out, as are major distribution depots for Boots the chemist and FedEx international couriers.

North London Line rail bridgeOn eastward into Carpenter's Road. This is a favourite East End boy racer backstreet, so it's appropriate that the majority of the businesses down the rest of the road are automobile related. Crash your car here and someone will be on the spot in seconds to nab your bumper, remove your windscreen or cart off your chassis, for cash. Pause a while on the next roadbridge and look out across the River Lea's eastern channel. You might spot a bobbing moorhen, you might spot a soaring seagull, or you might be really lucky and spot a purple Silverlink train rattling by across the water. Three lonely traffic lights guard the road junction into Marshgate Lane, where the occasional lorry queues to let absolutely nothing pass. Passengers crammed in aboard every route 276 bus soak up the unsightly view as they pass between twin building sites. 2012 contractors have been busy here since the start of the year on the site of the new Aquatic Centre, levelling the ground ready for the global Speedo invasion. It'll be a long time coming.

Jay J Auto SparesCarpenter's Road narrows alongside a long hangar-like structure divided up into a series of trading units. You can bring your broken-down taxi here for repair, or pick up some Japanese auto spares, or even snap up a cut-price car battery. Bits of windscreen litter the roadside - yours for a very reasonable price. Behind one set of locked gates they brew tarmac, behind another it's readymix concrete. And so it continues down the road - a whole string of businesses which wouldn't be acceptable (or have sufficient cash to pay the rent) anywhere else. Olympic regeneration will replace them all with a brand new residential neighbourhood, no doubt packed with incoming couples who've never fiddled under a bonnet in their lives. And the displaced employees of Carpenter's Road will have to make a fresh start elsewhere, if elsewhere will have them.

Pass beneath the low railway bridge and you reach the existing housing estates in the suburban no-mans-land south of Stratford station. Residents here are doomed to look out of their windows and watch a steady stream of construction traffic spluttering through their community over the next few years, with barely an extra penny spent on where they live. The bounteous OlympicLand is so very close to home, and yet still so very far away.

There used to be a second road north from here, but the top half of Warton Road was closed off earlier this year to allow construction of the Aquatic Centre to commence. A miserable stubby dead end remains beyond the railway, hemmed in between crumbling brick walls and green-painted security barriers. Behind a corrugated iron fence lies what used to be AV Autos, purveyors of the finest Fiat spares, and at the far end a locked gate provides unnecessary vehicle access to Thornton Fields railway sidings. I don't think I've stood anywhere quite so irrelevant and forgotten anywhere else in the Olympic Park. And I'm pleased I slipped in just before another brand new gate slams shut and snuffs out this tiny island of desolation forever.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream