diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 23, 2019

Last weekend a walkway in the Olympic Park was named Tessa Jowell Boulevard.

A lovely idea, following her death last year, in honour of her decisive contribution to securing and delivering the 2012 Olympic Games for London.

The newly-named boulevard runs down the southern half of the Park between the Stadium and the Aquatics centre. It's the broad path with the globe-shaped lanterns hung from trees, so about as prestigious as it gets. I spotted five TJB signs in total, either attached to fencing or 'planted' in the flowerbeds.

But then I spotted these.

These are signs attached to boulevards in the northern half of the park. They too have only just appeared, but this time they're proper street signs.

Essex Way is the broad path from the Timber Lodge cafe to the Velodrome on the eastern side of the river, and Middlesex Way is the broad path north from the traffic lights near the Copper Box on the western side of the river. These are also brilliant names because 100 years ago Essex Way would actually have been in Essex and Middlesex Way would actually have been in Middlesex, with the boundary running along the River Lea inbetween. These days the boundary between Hackney and Newham follows the river, but as heritage throwbacks Essex and Middlesex are perfect.
The sign for Middlesex Way shouldn't have a Newham coat of arms, it has been pointed out, because it's not in Newham.

The administrative trio is completed by London Way - a path from Here East towards the Velodrome which crosses the river via the Park's northernmost footbridge. It runs perpendicular to Middlesex Way and Essex Way, crossing both. London Way doesn't have any signs up at present, or none I've seen, but give it time.
On maps issued in 2012, London Way was the name given to what's now Tessa Jowell Boulevard, so presumably someone's had second thoughts.

Meanwhile several of the other bridges have also been officially named with official signs.

Eastcross Bridge is the other footbridge in the northern half of the park, slanted towards the Timber Lodge. Thornton Bridge is a lot further down, spanning the Lea at the non-functional end of the Aquatics Centre, and has been named after the railway sidings erased to make space for the Olympics. The Iron Bridge is a 20th century original, now painted purple, at the very southern end of the Park near the railway line.
The most important footbridge, the one which links Westfield to the Stadium near the Aquatics Centre, doesn't appear to have a name, so doesn't have a sign.

None of these Ways or Bridges are officially designated for road traffic, but each has been given a proper genuine E20 street sign. Meanwhile Tessa Jowell Boulevard is also traffic free, but hasn't been granted a proper genuine E20 street sign, just a scattering of small signs in some flowerbeds. Still a damned lovely idea, but not quite as impressive as it appeared at first sight.

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