Posts Tagged ‘Bromley-by-Bow’

An East London Ride – 2010

Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Salmon Lane Locki, Regents Canal

It’s perhaps misleading to call this a ride, since I spent most of the day on Wednesday 3rd February 2010 actually off my bike, parking it neatly to take photographs. Although a bicycle has been my main personal transport now for over 70 years (when I’m not using public transport or walking) I’m not really a cyclist. Or at least just a pragmatic cyclist, using a bike just to get from A to B (and on this day to C,D and most of the letters of the alphabet.)

An East London Ride - 2010
Memorial to firewatchers of Stepney Gas Works

And just very occasionally for a bit of exercise. I have used exercise bikes and always thought why bother when you could use the real thing, though I suppose when its pouring with rain or below zero there might be some point in them. And though one wouldn’t help me to take photographs I would be less likely to be killed by careless or dangerous drivers.

An East London Ride - 2010
Bromley-by-Bow gasholders, Twelvetrees Bridge

Back at the end of 2002 I bought myself a Brompton folding bike, and a year or three later when I was undergoing a Q & A interview for an amateur photography magazine it became my answer to ‘What is your most useful photographic accessory’. It had replaced the answer to a similar question from another such magazine which was ‘a good pair of shoes’.

Eternal flame, West Ham Memorial Gardens

Once you have practised a few times the Brompton folds (and unfolds) in a few seconds into a fairly compact package, which has the advantage you can take it at any time onto our trains and underground system. It’s too heavy for me to comfortably carry any distance, but I added the tiny wheels which mean you can pull it rather like a suitcase, only actually lifting it when necessary. And I bought the bag which fits on in front of the handlebars which was about the right size for my camera gear and essentials like a bottle of water or a flask of coffee and sandwiches.

The end of the ‘Fatwalk’

I can’t know remember exactly how I got to the start of my ride, though I think I probably rode from Waterloo to Fenchurch Street for a train to Limehouse station, crossing the Thames on Southwark Bridge. But from there on the pictures make my route fairly clear.

Bow Creek and Bow Locks

I cycled roughly along the Regents Canal up to the former Stepney Gas Works site north of Ben Johnson Road. There had been a fight to save more elements of the former gas works including gas holders which were some of the oldest surviving in the world; although some were said by English Heritage to be of national importance an attempt to get one of them listed failed. Eventually the area was redeveloped by Bellway Homes with only token ‘public art’ residues of the works.

From there I headed east to the bridge at Twelvetrees Crescent across Bow Creek and the Lea Navigation to visit another gas works site, the West Ham Memorial Gardens where war memorials, a permanent flame and a statue of Sir Corbett Woodhall are in a small wooded area close to the remarkable group of gas holders for the former Bromley-by-Bow Gas Works.

Three Mills

From there I went down to the recently opened path beside Bow Creek, part of a planned riverside walk which had been landed with the ridiculous name of The Fatwalk. As I commented then, most of the walk, meant to lead from Three Mills all the way to the Thames was still closed (and is still closed 13 years later) and by the time they were open the “nincompoop who thought that ‘The Fatwalk’ was a good name for this route will probably have retired or died or moved to another job for which he (or she) is equally incapable and common sense will prevail as we walk or cycle along the Bow Creek Trail.”

New Lock, Prescott Channel

The walk still only goes as far south as Cody Dock, now a thriving community resource and hub with events and exhibitions and worth a visit, but in 2010 still undeveloped. The silly name has gone and this path is now also a part of London’s sculpture trail, The Line, making its way from the Greenwich Peninsula to Stratford.

Three Mills Wall River

At the end of the Fatwalk, I had to turn around and go back to the Twelvetrees Crescent bridge, where I once again photographed the locks from the Lea Navigation to Bow Creek. Now there are new steps leading down from this bridge to the towpath, but then I had to go across and join the fast-moving traffic on the Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach to make my way to Three Mills.

Stratford High St

Three Mills is home to one of Newhams only four Grade I listed buildings and the House Mill, a tide mill, was built in 1776, though there had been tide mills here at least since the Domesday book.

Olympic stadium

The film studios here were converted from a gin factory where Chaim Weizmann developed a new biochemical process to produce acetone needed for explosive production in the First World War – which led to the Balfour Declaration and later to Weizmann becoming the first president of Israel.

Bridge over City Mill River

Past the studios I visited the new lock on the Prescott Channel, opened in 2009. Supposedly this was to be used by barges to carry away waste and bring in material for the development of the Olympic site instead of lorries, but was in practice only used for photo-opportunities. The Prescott Channel was built in the 1930s, part of a large flood relief programme, that was also largely to provide jobs at the height of the depression.

I get interviewed for a student film

Finally I cycled up to the Olympic site, a building site with little or no public access, but parts of the ‘Greenway’ – the path on the Northern Sewage Outfall – were still open and gave extensive views. The reason I was in London on this particular day, when the weather wasn’t at its best was to be interviewed and filmed by a group of students at the View tube on the Greenway. I can’t remember ever seeing the video. After the interview I made my way to Stratford to fold the Brompton and start my journey home on the Jubilee Line.

Bow Creek – right click to open at a viewable size in a new tab

As well as taking single images I also produced a number of panoramas, taking a series of pictures from the same position to be stitched together. These include some 360 degree views, produced by software from 6 or 8 individual images. The pictures were taken on a Nikon D700 and are each 12Mp, but the combined files are huge. It isn’t easy to display these on the web, and they fit even less well on this blog. I’ll post one here on a rather smaller scale and invite you to double click on it to see it larger, though still much reduced. You can find more online here.

Olympic Site Revisited
Three Mills
Bow and The Fatwalk

Chariot Festival, Olympic Site and Notting Hill

Saturday, August 27th, 2022

Chariot Festival, Olympic Site and Notting Hill

Chariot Festival, Olympic Site and Notting Hill. Sunday 27th August 2006, sixteen years ago was a busy day for me, travelling to East Ham to photograph a colourful Hindu festival, then on to Stratford for a short walk along the High Street and Bow Back Rivers, before taking the underground and ending up on Ladbroke Grove for the Children’s Day of the Notting Hill Carnival.

It was part of a very full few days for me, having got back to London after a couple of weeks in Paris and a few days with family in Beeston. Friday I’d put my folding bike on the train to Greenhithe and spent a day cycling around there and Swanscombe, Saturday I’d walked around 12 miles on the London Loop and after the events here on Monday I’d returned to Notting Hill for the carnival itself, after which I needed a few days rest. The text here is taken from My London Diary – with a few corrections, appropriate capitalisation and some additional comments. There are some more details in the captions on the picture pages of these events.

Sri Mahalakshmi Temple Chariot Festival – East Ham

Chariot Festival, Olympic Site and Notting Hill

Sunday morning found me in East Ham, where the Hindu Sri Mahalakshmi Temple was holding its chariot festival. It was a colourful and friendly event, but I soon felt I’d taken enough pictures and left.

It’s hard to show the flames when the offerings of food are made to the god, and difficult to catch the colour of the occasion.

more pictures

Lea Navigation and Bow Back Rivers – Stratford

On my way back from East Ham I stopped off at Bromley-by-Bow and walked up to Stratford High Street and along the rivers and channels there.

Parts were so thickly covered with bright green growth that they looked as if I could have walked along them.

There was another site demolished on the high street, with new housing starting to go up.

more pictures

Notting Hill Carnival – Childrens Day – Notting Hill

But the big event of August is always Notting Hill Carnival, and I was there both on the Sunday afternoon for Childrens’ Day and for the main event on the Monday, shooting both black and white film and colour digital.

[I noted back in 2006 that when I would get round to processing the black and white film is “anyone’s guess”. I think it was around ten years later that I finally admitted I wasn’t going to develop the chromogenic black and white films myself and the chemicals were probably past their best and I sent them for commercial processing. Though by then I wasn’t sure whether I had taken them in 2006 or 2007. But back to my 2006 post.]

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, but I didn’t get the same buzz from this year’s event as in previous years, though most of the same things seemed to be around.

Perhaps this was the problem; most of them did seem to be the same, two years on from when I last photographed the event. Last year, 2005, I tried to go, dragging myself to the station with a knee injury, but the pain was too much to continue. This year my knee held out, though I was glad to sink into a seat on the Underground at Latimer Road at the end of the day.

I didn’t take many colour pictures on Children’s Day, and most weren’t of children, and I think I probably didn’t stay long, but there are many more on the pages which follow on from there taken the following day.

more pictures

Bow, Kingsly Hall, a Nursery, Grime, Quakers & more

Sunday, March 13th, 2022

This post continues from my previous post on this walk by me on 1st August 1988, Coventry Cross, Gandhi, Graffiti, Drag Balls …

Stroudley Walk, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-21-Edit_2400
Stroudley Walk, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-21

The buildings of the Diary and the Rose & Crown are still standing at the north end of Stroudley Walk where it meets the end of Bromley High St, but the closed diary became Hussains Convenience Store and then Jalalabad Grocers and half is now a mobile phone repair shop.

The Rose & Crown had opened here around 1720, as the Bowling Green Inn, though the building here is from the 1880s. It closed in 2007, was boarded up for some years before reopening around 2014 as a coffee bar and fast food restaurant.

This was formerly the north end of Devons Road, and a sign for this painted on the brickwork at the left of the pub had virtually disappeared when I made this picture in 1988. Later repainted it has now almost disappeared again.

Kingsley Hall, Powis Rd, Bromley-By-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-25-Edit_2400
Kingsley Hall, Powis Rd, Bromley-By-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-25

I wrote more about Kingsley Hall and the sisters Muriel and Doris Lester in the previous post on this walk. They used a legacy from their younger brother Kingsley to set up a house where they lived in relative poverty and served the neighbourhood as well as campaigning for peace and justice across the world. A plaque on the building records that Mahatma Gandhi lived in a small cabin here during his three month stay attending a government conference as a representative of the Indian National Congress. You can read and see more about his visit and the sisters on the Muriel Lester web site.

This image gives a better view of the whole building, which dates from 1928. It faces the Devons Estate, built for the London County Council in 1949 and described by Pevsner as being in their ‘pre-war manner, but with all the drabness of post-war austerity‘. Those moved from slums into its maisonettes and flats would have taken a far more positive view and the estate was solidly built and well-designed to the standards of the day.

Clyde House, Bruce Rd, Bromley-by-Bow,  Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-26-Edit_2400
Clyde House, Bruce Rd, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-26

Clyde House is still there at 46 Bruce Road, looking in rather better condition now. Built in 1884 it appears to have been built as a pair with its double-fronted neighbour at 48.

Children's House, Nursery School, , Bruce Rd, Bromley-by-Bow,  Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-11-Edit_2400
Children’s House, Nursery School, Bruce Rd, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-11

Sisters Muriel and Doris Lester helped to set up the Children’s House on Bruce Road 1923. Doris had trained as a teacher and they commissioned Charles Cowles-Voysey to design a building based on Maria Montessori’s ideal learning environment for young children. The school was opened in 1923 by H G Wells and is still a school, run by Tower Hamlets Council.

Inside there is a 12 metre mural painted in 1935 by Eve Garnett, the illustrator, artist and writer of the first children’s book about working class characters, The Family from One End Street, in 1937. There is now a campaign to save and restore the mural which is dirty and damaged and the web site is asking for donations to pay for this.

Regent Square, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-8a-15-Edit_2400
Regent Square, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8a-15

The Crossways Estate, built in 1970 was apparently at the time known as the ‘Pride of Bow’, for its three 25 storey towers and a low rise block, Holyhead Close, built over the railway line. Later it was more prosaically referred to as the ‘three flats.’

It was here that Grime developed in 2003, after Rinse FM squatted in a flat and broadcast illegally from here, and it was also where Dizzee Rascal and others grew up.

Like many council developments the area around the estate was hard to navigate, with walkways and roads often not shown on maps. My contact sheet says ‘Regent Square and gives grid reference 375827 for the first of the five images I made. The three towers were Hackworth Point, Mallard Point and Priestman Point and are on Rainhill Way.

And also like many council estates, it was subjected to a policy of ‘managed decline’ and by 1999 was in a very poor state, so bad its demolition was under consideration. Tower Hamlets decided to retain and refurbish the estate which passed to Swan Homes after a residents ballot in 2005. Its towers now refurbished and clad more brightly this is now the Bow Cross Estate.

Bow Church, station, DLR,  Crossways estate, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-56-Edit_2400
Bow Church, station, DLR, Crossways estate, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-56

The ‘three flats’ seen from Bow Road and Bow Church DLR station which opened on 31 August 1987.

Mornington Grove, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-61-Edit_2400
Mornington Grove, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-61

Mornington Grove not only gets a mention in the London 5: East volume of Pevsner (p619) which describes these houses as “unusually grand for the area” but also has an extensive web site covering its history by Ken Ward, a resident in the street, from which this information is extracted – and which has far more detail. And it really is an interesting history – if you have the time do click the link and read more.

The land of a nursery here was bought by the Quaker meeting in Ratcliff in 1812, and houses on Mornington Road were developed by them from 1854-1889 – those on the east side in this picture being among the later development. Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington was the son of the first Earl of Mornington, and the fourth Earl lived nearby on the north side of Bow Road.

Many of the houses in Mornington Road were compulsory purchased and demolished for the Whitehapel and Bow Railway (later the District Line) and others by World War II bombing of what had in 1939 been renamed Mornington Grove. Under the Quakers, at least 5/7th of the rents of the houses went to the support of the poor.

Most of the houses in the street, by then under multiple occupation, were sold by the Quakers to a housing association in 1980, becoming social housing, though many have now been sold off.

More from Bow in the next post from my walk in 1988. You can see larger versions of any of these pictures by clicking on the image which will take you to my album 1988 London Pictures from where you can browse.

Lansbury, Brownfield, Teviot and St Leonards Road

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

Lansbury, Brownfield, Teviot and St Leonards Road. My previous post in the series on this walk, Back to Poplar in 1988 contained information about George Lansbury, a leading politician in Poplar and around from when first elected as an MP in 1910 to his death in 1940. From 1932-35 leader of the Labour Party he was forced to resign because he stuck to his principles.

Lodore St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-45-positive_2400
Lodore St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-45

Because of its closeness to the docks and the River Thames Poplar had been one of the worst hit areas by bombs from German Zeppelins and bombers in World War I, but suffered far great damage in WW2, with almost a quarter of the buildings in the area being destroyed.

Redvelopment of the area after the war was slow, although part was finished in time to be included as the Live Architecture Exhibition section of the 1951 Festival of Britain, development of the whole of the area designated as the Lansbury Estate, between the East India Dock Road, Burdett Road, Limehouse Cut, and the North London railway line was only completed in the 1980s. The area at the south-east of this was developed by the GLC as an eastern extension to Lansbury, now known as the Brownfield Estate, designated in 1958.

By then its nature had changed with the original and highly praised plans begun under Patrick Abercrombie in 1943 and carried forward by Frederick Gibberd and the LCC Architect’s Department for the Festival being greatly modified, particularly after the Conservative Government which came to power in 1950 altered the housing priorities to provide more homes – which meant more high-rise.

From the GLC, the Lansbury estate passed to Tower Hamlets Council and was badly affected by Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ and other policies against council housing. Much was transferred in 1988 to Poplar HARCA.

Balfron Tower, Willis St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-46-positive_2400
Balfron Tower, Willis St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-46

The iconic block of Balfron Tower is one of three – Balfron Tower, Carradale House
and Glenkerry House – listed blocks by architect Erno Goldfinger on the Brownfield Estate and dates from 1965-8. His development of Carradale House was held back so displaced local residents could be housed in Balfron and it was comleted in 1967-8, with Glenkerry House by Goldfinger’s studio being completed in 1972-5.

Goldfinger and his wife lived in one of the flats in Balfron for 8 weeks after completion. Balfron passed from Tower Hamlets to Poplar HARCA in 2007, promising residents to refurbish the building and re-house them there. They reneged on that promise, converting the block to luxury flats sold at market prices.

St Leonard's Arms, St Leonard's Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-32-positive_2400
St Leonard’s Arms, St Leonard’s Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-32

The St Leonard Arms at 162 St Leonards Rd is said to have closed in 1988 and was later converted to flats, probably in 2002. It had been there at least since 1861, when its address was 17 Wilson Terrace and St Leonard’s Road was then Bow Lane. In my picture from 1988 it looks as if it had closed some time earlier.

At the left the Grade II listed St Michael and All Angels, built 1864-5 is undergoing extensive building work – probably part of its conversion to flats as St Michael’s Court.

Five Ways Mission, War Memorial, St Leonard's Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-33-positive_2400
Five Ways Mission, War Memorial, St Leonard’s Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-33

Close to the church is an impressive war memorial with the “Christ with one hand raised in blessing and the other holding a wreath above the head of a kneeling warrior in the armour of a crusader“, sculptor A R Adams erected in 1920 with funds from a public “appeal, a football match and tickets for a special matinee performance at the queen’s theatre, high street on Saturday 24 April 1920“.

On the opposite side of the road is the former Fiveways Mission and a car hire service. This building is now smartened and extended at right as private housing.

Five Ways Mission, St Leonard's Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-34-positive_2400
Five Ways Mission, St Leonard’s Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-34

A closer, head-on view of the properties at 161-165 St Leonard’s Rd, with some light flare.

St Leonard's Rd, Bright St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-36-positive_2400
St Leonard’s Rd, Bright St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-36

A view of from the side of the two properties and the adjoining former London Cooperative Society with a fading and crumbling advertisement for BALSAM for COUGHS and Colds (perhaps the word FRIARS’ had already gone.) Above the shuttered frontage is the word HEADACHES.

St Leonard's Rd, Bright St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-7t-22-positive_2400
St Leonard’s Rd, Bright St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7t-22

On the side of the building is a giant sign for the TEVIOT FESTIVAL, OPEN TO ALL and an arrow pointing in its direction. I also photographed this sign in colour. Much of this area was redeveloped as the Teviot Estate, which is now being redeveloped by Poplar HARCA. It is now often called Langdon Park, a green area at the end of Bright St where there is a newish DLR station.

Teviot Festival, Bright St, Poplar, 1988TQ3881-001

My walk will continue in a later post.

Bromley-by-Bow – July 1988

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Bromley-by-Bow – July 1988. My previous post on my walk on Sunday 31st July 1988 ended at Watts Grove off Devons Road, and I spent some time exploring the area around here and in Bow Common and Bow.

All Hallows, Church, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-45-positive_2400
All Hallows, Church, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-45

The church of All Hallows on Devons Road was funded by the Clothworkers’ Company who got the money from the site of All Hallows Staining, demolished except for its tower in 1873. That tower, now Grade I listed, is still there just off Mark Lane, next to St Olave’s Church Hall. They paid for a church by architect Ewan Christian, completed in 1874. Unfortunately this was badly damaged by bombing, and only its core remained in the new church on the site by A P Robinson completed in 1955 in an ‘Early Christian’ style. The church has its address on Blackthorn St and is not yet listed.

Shops,  Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-46-positive_2400
Shops, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-46

There was still a tyre shop, though no longer J R Tyres, at 119 Devons Road in 2021, though I think this end of the row of shops is currently being rebuilt. Some years since I made this picture this shop had previously been rebuilt, its ground and upper floor losing their late Victorian frontage.

The Widow's Son, The Bun House, pub, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-32-positive_2400
The Widow’s Son, The Bun House, pub, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-32

The Widow’s Son has the distinction of being the only listed building in the South Bromley Ward of Tower Hamlets, though I suspect its Grade II* listing reflects the legend associated with it – of the widow’s son who joined the Navy to fight Napoleon and wrote telling his mother he would be home for Easter and told her to cook a hot cross bun and have it waiting for him. He never came, but every year on Good Friday she baked a fresh bun for him, and a large collection was found hanging in a net from the ceiling beams of her cottage after her death.

The Widow’s Son, commonly known as the Bun House, was built on the site of her cottage, and the net containing the buns, was hung above the bar, with a sailor from the Navy adding another each year on Good Friday. From some time in the 1990s the buns were baked and supplied by Mr Bunn’s Bakery, a family-run business a few miles away in Chadwell Heath.

The pub was built around 1848, and its single bar largely retains its fittings from around the 1870s. It closed and was put up for sale in 2016, but was reopened in time for Bun Day in 2017 and was refurbished with new kitchens in 2019 and is more a pub/restaurant. I think it reopened after a further temporary closure due to Covid, but haven’t been able to check personally.

Joe's Auto Spares,  Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-34-positive_2400
Joe’s Auto Spares, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-34

Joe’s Auto Spares were in a railway arch immediately west of the Cantrell Road Bridge, where there are still businesses in the arches, though many are now being priced out as railway arches – such as those in the centre of Brixton – are redeveloped and re-let at much higher rents.

Railway, bridge, gasholder, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-35-positive_2400
Railway, bridge & gasholder, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-35

I walked into the southern end of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park to take a wider view showing the railway bridge and Joe’s Auto Spares, with one of the two remaining gasholders of Bow Common Gasworks behind. The gasholders, long redundant, were only demolished a few years ago and the site is now a development of around 1450 homes, a new sixth form centre, some commercial uses and a new area of open space.

Car spares, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-36-positive_2400
Car spares, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-36-positive_2400

I couldn’t resist taking another picture of the scrapyard beside the railway which has featured in a previous post. The site is now a part of the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Demolition, Rounton Rd, Bromley, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-21-positive_2400
Demolition, Rounton Rd, Bromley, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-21

Walking back towards the east I came to Rounton Road, where a row of late Victorian houses was being demolished. I think the tower block just visible in the background is probably Gayton House just off of Knapp Rd. The whole area around Rounton Road has been redeveloped.

Lozinski Ltd, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 198888-7s-22-positive_2400
Lozinski Ltd, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 198888-7s-22

Lozinki Ltd, an engineering company helpfully give their address as Rounton Ropad, Bow, and their site is now Miami Car Wash. Through the railway brdige you can see Navenby Walk. The tree is also still there.

H Barnett & Co, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-23-positive_2400
H Barnett & Co, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-23

The railway bridge, as well as the brick building are still there but the writing on the wall for H Barnett & Co, as well as the Vehicle Spares sign have gone and the wall and street sign both replaced. The building, obviously much altered by the brickwork, is a sub-station for the railway with a bridge carrying cables across to the tracks at its rear.

I still had a lot of wandering to do – so there will be further posts from my walk around Bow.

South of Bow Locks – the 1980s

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Bow Creek, Bow Locks, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36v-52_2400

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t possible to walk beside Bow Creek from Bow Locks south to the East India Dock road, as the banks were occupied by various industrial and commercial sites, including two gas works and West Ham power station. And although there have been plans by the councils for many years, even today you can only walk down on the Newham bank as far as Cody Dock, on a path opened to the public some years ago with the ridiculous name of the Fatwalk, but since renamed. There is a tantalising walkway visible continuing past the dock along the former power station bank, but this is still closed to the public.

Clinic, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-35_2400

While this was a limitation, it was also an opportunity to explore the two areas where roads ran close (or not too close) to Bow Creek to both the east in West Ham and west in Bromley and Poplar, and I was rewarded by some images I found interesting, though parts of my walks were along fume laden streets with heavy traffic.

Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, Tweed House, view, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-3pan_2400

Tweed House, a tall block of council flats on the Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road next to the Limehouse Cut enabled me to take some pictures which I more recently stitched together to create two panoramas of the area – the individual pictures are also in the Flickr album. Click to see the larger versions on Flickr.

Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, Tweed House, view, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-4-pan_2400

From various places both on to the east and west of Bow Creek I found rather satisfyingly bleak views of the distant power station, including one with a young mother with a small baby in a pram.

Lochnagar St, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36v-42_2400

Others were emptier still, like this

Lorry Park, Gillender St, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1982 32e-42_2400

or more minimal and just occasionally rather threatening; some streets around here featured in crime films and TV dramas of the era, gangster London.

Lochnager St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1982 32e-34_2400

But there was also a little chance for fun, with a cafeteria with two giant cooling towers to take away the cooking fumes and the unlikely name of Oasis.

Oasis, Cafeteria, Cafe, Bidder St, West Ham, Newham, 1983 36v-12_2400

Poplar Gas Works was on a rather smaller scale to Bromley-by-Bow, but its gas holders still dominated the working class housing around it. Two young girls playing on the grass came to see what I was doing and insisted on being photographed, though I perhaps should have stepped back a foot or two to avoid cropping their feet to get the gasholder in the frame.

Girls, Gasholder, Poplar Gas Works, Rutland Terrace, Oban St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-55_2400

At East India Dock Road I was able to return to Bow Creek – and things got even more interesting (and although very different they still are) as I hope to show you in the next installment of my work from the Flick album River Lea – Lea Navigation – 1981-92 – the pictures above are all on Page 4.

Clicking on any of the images above should take you to a larger version on Flickr, and you can also go on to explore the album from there.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Around Three Mills

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

House Mill, Clock Mill, Three Mills Island, Bromley-by-Bow, Newham, 1981 29q-15_2400
Three Mills

Three Mills Lane which runs from Hancock Road, a short walk from Bromley by Bow Underground station takes you across the Lea Navigation and Bow Creek to a remarkable ensemble of four of Newham’s listed buildings, including the Grade I listed House Mill from 1776, the early 19th century offices and the 1817 Clock Mill, with its 1753 Clock Tower. The fourth is easy to miss, as it is the stone setts and flagstones under your feet, dating back to the 19th century.

The Clock Mill, Three Mills Island, Bromley-by-Bow, Newham, 1981 29q-13_2400

Together they make a splendid early industrial landscape, though now a little hemmed in by rather more recent flats. When I photographed there in the 1980s and 1990s, the area around was full of largely 20th century industrial sites, mainly along the navigation, and a little still remains, particularly an impressive set of gas holders (seven Grade II listings) on the southern side of the Channelsea River at the former Bromley-by-Bow gas works (which also has listings for its bridge across the canal and Bow Creek as well as its war memorial and statue of Sir Corbet Woodhall.)

Three Mills Wall River, Stratford, Newham, 1981 29t-63p_2400
Three Mills Wall River

In more normal times the House Mill, which was saved from demolition in the 1970s and has been partially restored offers reasonably priced guided tours on Sundays from May to October and at some other times as well as hosting various events. The mill is a tide mill, and is on a site recorded in the Domesday Book, with foundations dating back to the end of the 14th century. It was able to generate power for 7-8 hours a day, though the output varied with the monthly changes in tides. Together with the Clock Mill it would grind an average of 125 tons of grain a week.

Works, Lea Navigation, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1981 29t-33_2400
Works, Lea Navigation, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1981

The towpath running south from Three Mills is on a narrow strip with the navigation on the west and Bow Creek to the west, and it leads down under railway bridges to Twelvetrees Crescent (where recent stairs now allow you to go on to the bridge and continue your walk beside Bow Creek) and under the bridge to Bow Locks where you can continue along the Limehouse Cut.

Railway bridge, Wharf, Lea Navigation, Bromley -by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1981 29t-61_2400
Railway bridge, Wharf, Lea Navigation, Bromley -by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1981
Bromley-By-Bow Gasworks, Imperial Gas Light and Coke Co, Bromley-By-Bow, Newham, 1981  29q-25-6_2400
Bromley-By-Bow Gasworks, Imperial Gas Light and Coke Co, Bromley-By-Bow, Newham, 1981
Lea Navigation, Twelvtrees Crescent, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1983 36v-02_2400 (2)
Lea Navigation, Twelvtrees Crescent, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1983

You won’t see the empty lighters on the navigation that were there when I walked along here in 1983, not long after commercial traffic ended. The large pipe across in front of the bridge would have carried gas from the Bromley gas works across to deliver gas to London west of the works. The listed bridge dates from 1872. Under it you can see the bridge which takes the path across Bow Locks and on to Gillender St or to the towpath beside the Limehouse Cut.

More on page 4 of River Lea – Lea Navigation. Click any of the images above to go to larger versions on my Flickr site.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Bromley-by-Bow to Star Lane

Thursday, February 27th, 2020
Bow Creek from Twelvetrees Crescent bridge

When I was busy photographing London as urban landscape in the 1980s and 90s little of the area to the east of Bow Creek was accessible, occupied by a gas works, a power station and a large private industrial estate and it was more or less a no-go area for photographers.

Iron Mountain

Around ten years ago, the riverside walk on the east bank south from Twelvetrees Crescent was reopend as ‘The Fatwalk’ but there were several problems. One was the name, and I proposed back then it be renamed as ‘The Bow Creek Trail‘. My suggestion wasn’t taken up (perhaps those guys just don’t read ‘My London Diary’ or ‘Re:PHOTO’) but around 2016 it was renamed and is now ‘The Leaway’, which is just slightly silly and geographically imprecise. And when we walk it we hope our course will not shift a little sideways and deposit us in the mud or deep water of the creek.

A sculpture on ‘The Line’

Back in 2010 when I first used it the main problem was that it was a dead end. You could (and I did) go south for around 5/8ths of a mile but you then simply had to turn around and come back. I was on my Brompton, so I didn’t much mind, but had I been walking I would have been annoyed.

Cody Dock

Things have improved a little at both ends of this short stretch. Cody Dock has opened at the south end, allowing the exit I took today with a fairly short walk to Star Lane DLR station, which opened in 2011. The adventurous could swing themselves around the fence at the south of Cody Dock onto what looks like a perfectly good path beyond, and possibly make their way out through the Electra Business Park as a longer route to Star Lane, but there is still no access to the creek bank between the business park and the East India Dock Road.

From Star Lane DLR

Going north from Twelvetrees Crescent is now easier, with new steps from the bridge there leading down to the path beside the Lea Navigation, which previously needed an unpleasant detour. You can keep on walking beside the Lea from here to Hertford.

More pictures and text: Bromley-by-Bow to Star Lane

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

September 2019: My London Diary

Friday, November 1st, 2019

I just managed to finish posting my pictures and comments to My London Diary for September 2019 before the end of October, though I am finding it more and more difficult to keep up.

I began September with a rather active week with friends in the Yorkshire Dales, mainly in Wharfedale. It was an area I’d hardly visited before and certainly worth a trip.

September 2019

Requiem for a Bee
HS2 threatens ancient Woodland
Veterans Moon for Soldier F

Climate Rally for the Imagination
Hong Kong must be free
Students Strike for climate justice
XR Doctors Climate Protest

Wework stop victimising cleaners
Clerkenwell Road & Old St
Clean Air for Catford Children
Zimbabwe protests continue
XR Youth International
Cody Dock Duck Race
Bromley-by-Bow to Star Lane
Carnaby St Puma Boycott
Global Climate Strike Protest continues
Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike

Global Climate Strike Rally
Hackney don’t victimise housing activists
Brixton anti-racist march
London’s First Trans+ Pride March
Stop Arming Israel HSBC Protest

Criminal Abuse of Women in South Africa
Against LGBTQ Hate Crime
Stop the suicide crisis

Yorkshire Dales holiday

Kettlewell and Starbotton
Bolton Castle
Wensleydale waterfalls
Kettlewell & Arncliffe circular
More Kettlewell

Skipton Castle
Litton Church & Falls
Buckden circular
Kettlewell final
Conistone walk

London Images

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.