Posts Tagged ‘City Mill Lock’

City Mill Lock & Blaker Rd

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

City Mill Lock, Blaker Rd,  Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1990 90-9f-32 (2)_2400
City Mill Lock, Blaker Rd, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1990

City Mill Lock connected the tidal Waterworks River with the Bow Back Rivers which are a part of the Lea Navigation and thus at a constant level. There is another lock connecting the two systems further north where Carpenters Lock connects the Old River Lea to the start of the Waterworks River close to Carpenters Road. Both locks were built in the 1930s when considerable work was carried out, mainly to reduce flooding but also with the intent of increasing commercial traffic on the Back Rivers, particularly the City Mill River. But I think this never happened and by the 1960s these streams were seldom if ever used.

City Mill Lock, Blaker Rd,  Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36m-35_2400
City Mill Lock, Blaker Rd, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983

The River Lea was at least theoretically navigable at the right stage of the tide some way further north – and of course much further by kayaks, though there are legal restrictions on parts of its many streams.

Since the Olympics, the tidal flow on the river has been regulated by a new lock on the Prescott Channel at Three Mills which I photographed in 2010. The original intention of British Waterways that the river above this point should be non-tidal but its level still varies, perhaps simply with the river flow.

City Mill Lock, St Thomas's Creek, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 36m-22a-positive-2_2400
City Mill Lock, St Thomas’s Creek, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983

The lock gates had clearly seen rather better times and the lock was unusable. These gates were replaced as a part of the makeover of the area for the Olympics.

City Mill River, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35v-15_2400
City Mill River, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983

Just to the west of the lock, behind the lock keepers house, St Thomas’s Creek turns towards the north and becomes the City Mill River. A few boats were moored here, next to Blaker Rd.

City Mill River, Blaker Rd,  Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35v-13_2400
City Mill River, Blaker Rd, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983

Continuing north beside the City Mill River along Blaker Road led to a footpath which went under the Northern Outfall Sewer in a tunnel. It was possible to access the Greenway walkway on the sewer from here.

City Mill River, Blaker Rd,  Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 198335v-26_2400
City Mill River, Blaker Rd, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983

From where you could look down on the path and the railings beside the river.

City Mill River, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35v-25_2400
City Mill River, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1983

This is the view looking back down the City Mill River towards City Mill Lock, now rather different.

City Mill River, Railway, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 36m-43

The footpath led on past the Northern Outfall Sewer to a rather strangely angled basin taking the river under the main railway lines. From here you could continue walking beside the river and eventually reach the north end of Marshgate Lane and Carpenters Road.

The last time I tried to repeat this walk, in 2019, it was not possible, with work still taking place in the area and fences stopping me. As well as work still taking place after the 2012 Olympics, parts were blocked by work on Crossrail.

More pictures on Flickr.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

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.


London 1986 Page 10

Friday, June 12th, 2020
Institute of Chartered Accountants, Great Swan Alley, City 86-8ab-32-Edit_2400

Page 10 of London 1986 begins in the city of London, and strongly features a remarkable set of figures around the Institute of Chartered Accountants building from 1890-93 in Great Swan Alley, off Moorgate a little to the north of the Bank of England. Above its first floor windows is a long frieze of figures representing various trades and figures, some dating from the 1890s and others added in the 1930s and 1960s when the building was extended. Among them you can see Wren holding a model of St Pauls Cathedral.

Institute of Chartered Accountants, Great Swan Alley, City 86-8ab-34-Edit_2400

But apparently of more interest to me were what Pevsner describes as the “small very female termini caryatids” whose figures seemed very much at odds with my ideas both of the Victorians and of accountants and on whom I expended far to much film.

Petticoat Lane, City, Tower Hamlets86-9a-23_2400

I managed to drag myself away from the sirens of the ICA and out of the City into Petticoat Lane and the area around this, finding as well as a market a large group of Christians armed with muscial instruments.

Guildhall, Exhibition hall, Magistrates' court, Offices, Richard Gilbert Scott, 65 Basinghall Street, City 86-9b-14_2400

Later I returned to the City for more pictures, including some of one of my favourite modern buildings in the city, the Exhibition hall, Magistrates’ court and Offices by Richard Gilbert Scott at 65 Basinghall Street with its wonderful concrete roofs.

Highwalk, Wood St, City 86-9d-41_2400

The city’s Highwalks also attracted my attention, part of a post-war vision of separating pedestrians from traffic by visionary architects who perhaps failed to appreciate the tremendous residue of street-level development that anchored people to the ground. It worked for areas that had been largely obliterated by bombing, particularly the Barbican, but could never become sufficiently comprehensive elsewhere across the city to make sense. It did however provide photographers with some useful elevated viewpoints.

City Mill Lock, Bow Back Rivers, Stratford, Newham  86-9f-26_2400

At the end of the page are a few pictures from Bromley-by-Bow and Stratford back rivers, including some of the near derelict lock linking the City Mill River and St Thomas’s Creek with the tidal Waterworks River. I think this lock dated from the 1930s when the City Mill River was enlarged and other work done as a part of a flood relief plan for the area (and also to give work to the unemployed.) Because the Waterworks River was then tidal, the water level in it could be either above or below that in the City Mill river and there are two pairs of gates at this end of the lock. These were replaced by modern gates a few years ago, but a new lock was built at Three Mills as a part of the Olympic redevelopment, which probably makes the double gate redundant.

Page 10 of London 1986