diamond geezer

 Saturday, June 30, 2012

The BBC news website published a shocking article yesterday entitled "Rubble and ruins by Olympic Park". They sent a reporter to circumnavigate the park with a camera, photographing the neighbourhoods that immediately encircle it. And they discovered many an "unlovely spot" amongst the "scenes of urban decay". How ghastly it might be for spectators arriving from abroad to see London like this. I mean, some of us actually have to live round here. It must be awful for us.

Their prime photographic target was a collection of tumbledown buildings immediately alongside the A12 in Bromley-by-Bow.

"Old mattresses. Piles of rubble. A pulled apart children's safety seat. Derelict buildings minus windows, roofing and floors. A car, lacking its entire front section. You might be forgiven for thinking these scenes belong to one of the UK's most unloved and forgotten corners. But no: these photographs were taken less than one mile from the Olympic Park with just weeks until the Games."

The site they focused on is indeed a right mess. A former office block stands empty, its windows smashed, its internal structure open to the elements. The main staircase lies fully exposed to southbound traffic, the exterior topped off by colourful graffiti. Office equipment - anything not worth nicking - has been scattered across the floors inside. Someone has been sleeping in a downstairs office on a seriously manky mattress. And yes, the surrounding former workyard looks even worse. Which is odd, because if all had gone to plan this should have been a super-size Tesco by now.

Three years ago the supermarket giant announced they'd be transforming a patch of land between the road and the river into Britain's first Tesco Town - a mixed retail/residential cluster with its own library, primary school and hotel. First to go up would be a bigger-than-we-have-now supermarket and then they'd knock the old one down and build megaflats on it. Stage 1 was due to happen by March 2012, but hasn't. There's not even been an attempt at demolition... hence the existence of several crumbling abandoned buildings and assorted detritus all around. Indeed, earlier this month Tesco pumped money into their existing supermarket, recladding the exterior and removing the tower above the entrance, which suggests there are no plans to progress their Tesco Town vision for the foreseeable future.

What the BBC's journalist found by the A12 wasn't a lack of major planned redevelopment, but a failure of funding. They were also unimpressed by "an abandoned pub, swathed in graffiti and boarded up" in Hackney Wick - that's the Lord Napier by the station, which almost no Olympic spectators will walk past. They were dismissive of the Lea - "an entire stretch of river was clogged with sewage and weed, releasing a sulphurous stench" - although Thames Water said this was unusual and heavy-rain-related. And they were also underwhelmed by a derelict garage on Stratford High Street - very close to the Greenway Gate - although that had already been demolished by the time the BBC got round to publishing their story.

So, nothing too dreadful then. Nothing that'll make Games spectators turn round and run screaming with fear from the Stratford/Bow area. Indeed I'd argue that many of the blocks of flats erected around here in the run up to the Games are so architecturally vacuous that they're far more offensive than the crumbling post-industrial remnants the BBC's been complaining about. As more and more of my local neighbourhood turns into residential Anywheresville, wholescale gentrification is sucking much of this area's character clean away. While it's hard to describe many of the buildings around here previously as "lovely", it's equally impossible to describe what's replacing them as "interesting".

To round off their article the BBC contacted Graham Hales, chief executive officer of Interbrand London. "These images are disappointing," he said. "By and large the city has had a good scrub up for the Olympics - and these don't show London in the best light." Given the scale of the challenge, he said it was important to be realistic about what could be achieved through the Games. And he hoped everything else London had to offer "would mean its brand was undamaged by the scars of neglect that still litter the East End." Sheesh. It's not that bad in E3 and E15, Graham. Some of us even choose to live here. But if his idea of branded London means living in highrise stacks along shoebox boulevards, give me the occasional characterful derelict building any day.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
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    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards