diamond geezer

 Monday, July 10, 2017

Ten years ago, evictions complete, steel gates clanged shut around the Olympic Park. Five years later they reopened, the world arrived and two fortnights of sport took place. Five years after the Games a massive amount of repurposing has taken place, and much of the Olympic Park is now scarcely recognisable from what came before. But it's still not the case that everything's finished, ten years on, nor indeed that all the old ways into the park have been opened up. On the tenth anniversary of the initial lock-up, I'm been down to see whereabouts you still can't get in.

I started at the Bow Flyover, and worked my way east.



The River Lea towpath is still passable, but remains diverted (via a pontoon) while a new electricity substation is built alongside to power Crossrail. The pontoon was supposed to be removed in February, according to the website puddingmilllanesubstation.com, but towpath restoration is currently running six months behind schedule and workmen are still faffing around with walls and surfaces.

Barbers Road reopened in March, having been closed off since 2009, leading to a windswept new piazza outside Pudding Mill Lane DLR station. But not everything's open yet.



This is a new ramp from Marshgate Lane up towards the Greenway, parallel to the DLR viaduct, which workmen have been swarming over for months. It replaces a creepier, less accessible footpath which used to follow approximately the same route until 2007. Eventually this new footpath/cycleway link will connect the station to the Greenway and a new residential wedge beyond... but for now it's still very closed.

The Greenway remains straightforward to reach by ducking under the railway and heading up to the View Tube.



The View Tube's cafe is now under new management, paired up with The Common on Old Bethnal Green Rd, and offers a different slant on drinks and snacks to the previous tenants. Bike hire is also available, daily (except Tuesdays) throughout the summer. But footfall around this sparsely developed location remains low, so I'm not sure how the business survives, especially now that 'coming up onto the Greenway to see the Stadium' is nothing special.

Here's the latest view of the Stadium from the Greenway.



As you can see, a large building is going up inbetween... a new secondary school on the banks of the City Mill River. Students shouldn't expect any playground space, except perhaps on the roof, so tight is the footprint of the site, although they will have a community athletics track nextdoor. That diversion sign stuck to the railings is needed because a tented village has sprung up on the lawn south of the Orbit during a special summer of athletics, and the resulting pedestrian detour is both dull and inconvenient. It also looks like all the pink arrows will fall off soon. Stay away.

I'll now return to Stratford High Street and check the next former entrance into the park.



The next former entrance into the park, up Blaker Road, is blocked. What's more the bars across the tunnel under the Greenway mean it looks like remaining blocked permanently, making this once pleasant riverside path a dead end... and a good place to sleep rough on a dumped mattress. What I best remember from standing here before Olympic construction began were the dragonflies dancing on the water. There are no dragonflies now, dancing or otherwise.

Another connection to the Greenway once existed from Blaker Road, along the northern bank of the Waterworks River.



That's still blocked too. I got excited because the barriers at the City Mill Lock end have finally been removed and I was able to walk along a long-sealed path. I reached the bench overlooking the canal, and further, but at the far end, just before the steps, no luck, the barriers remain. What is it about the Greenway which makes all these connections as yet impassible?

At the main entrance on Stratford High Street, here's the answer. 'Early investigations'.



The Greenway's northern access has been blocked since 2009, initially for Olympic reasons. When the Games were over, Crossrail operations took precedence, encompassing a major worksite where fresh railway tracks will enter tunnels. Crossrail were supposed to be finished by July 2016, but then a third interested party turned up, namely Thames Water, who need to carry out 'strengthening works to the bridge over Waterworks River'. Initially the plan was for this to be completed by July 2018, but the paperwork attached to the fence suggests the work's only just started, that the company they've brought in are "asbestos removal specialists", and that the work won't be complete until 1st January 2019. I wouldn't count on it.

The next potential entrance to the park is from Bridgewater Road, past the allotments.



This arty tunnel has been blocked off for years, then was silently opened up last winter, then was mysteriously closed off again. I managed to walk round one barrier and under the railway bridge, which has thankfully been cleaned of pigeon droppings since I was last here. But the barrier on the far side was still in place, so I had to retrace my steps and return to Warton Road to enter the park instead.

I've never seen this obstruction on Warton Road before.



These lumpen security barriers aren't permanent, hopefully, but have been installed as a precaution during "a spectacular Summer of World Athletics". The Yoghurt-Sponsored Anniversary Games took place yesterday, the World Para Athletics Championships begin on Friday and the IAAF World Championships kick off on 4th August. Congratulations to the stadium-bookers on an impressive haul of top class action, for which tickets are still available, but the associated backstage operations and security are an echo of the less attractive side of 2012.

The Stadium is no longer in West Ham mode.



The triangles on the exterior wrap remain claret and blue, but the club's name has been removed from the roof and the huge video screen is now streaming pictures of athletes rather than footballers. It's good to see the Stadium being used for the purpose it was originally designed for, even if the rarity of athletics events is a reminder of why a completely different kind of sporting presence needed to be wheeled in as anchor tenant.

And finally, here's something not yet open for those arriving by water.



Carpenters Road Lock last operated in the 1960s, but has been expensively restored and its unique double radial lock gates are finally due to open again at the end of the summer. An East London Waterways Festival is pencilled in for Bank Holiday Monday 28th August, with a variety of events on land and water including a boat flotilla, live music and dragon boat racing. The full Bow Back Rivers network will then be accessible for the first time in decades, ideal for cruising should you have a narrowboat at your disposal.

Ten years may have proved insufficient, but wait long enough and the entire Olympic Park does open up.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
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

twenty blogs
853
our bow
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  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

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

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
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

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
boredom
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
iceland

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
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv