Posts Tagged ‘saw mill’

Saw Mills & Flood Barrier

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

M & J Reuben, London Sawmills, Wharfside Rd, Newham, 1983 35t-25_2400

Standing more or less on the bank of Bow Creek beside the saw mill in 1983 I could see the elevated East India Dock Rd from which quite a few of my pictures were taken, and beyond it the box-like West Ham Power Station with its two pencil-like chimneys and cooling towers. Sawing timber creates a great deal of dust and a large extractor removes this, probably more for its commercial value than an anti-pollution measure.

Bow Creek, Flood Barrier, Saw Mill, Wharfside Rd, Newham, 1983 36v-25_2400

Looking down from East India Dock Rd onto the circular car park where Wharfedale Rd emerged from the tunnel under the road. There were few if any traces of the old railway line that used to run between the fence and the river here – where the DLR now runs. The picture gives a good impression of the densely packed industry on the peninsula beyond the creek. Taken with an extreme wide-angle lens – the 21mm on the Olympus OM1 you can see some stretching of objects closer to the edges of the frame which is a consequence of rectilinear perspective.

Bow Creek,  Flood Barrier, Wharfside Rd, Newham, 1983 35t-11_2400

Working from more or less the same position (but on a different day) with a less wide lens (probably a 35mm) gives a considerably less wide view, making distant objects seem larger, and also avoids any noticeable distortion. You can see the flood barrier on Bow Creek much more clearly.

Canning Town, Flood Barrier, Bow Creek, East India Dock Rd, Newham, 1982 36v-26_2400

Moving a little further along East India Dock Road gave a better view of the river now running south through the flood barrier. At left are the tower blocks of Canning Town. The row of buildings at right are on the far side of Victoria Road, and the railway line from Stratford to North Woolwich is in front of them, hidden by a bank of earth. Stairs led down from the road to this waste land and there were no fences to stop me walking along the river bank.

Flood Barrier, Bow Creek, Newham, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36a-32_2400

From the bank I got a good view of the flood barrier, its three gates in raised position, getting shorter from left to right to match the slope of the creek, deeper on the outside of the curve. Building the Thames Barrier at Charlton which first came into operation at more or less at the time I made this picture made this barrier, previously essential to prevent flooding along Bow Creek, redundant. It was removed shortly after I made these pictures.

Flood Barrier, Bow Creek, Newham, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36a-36_2400

Back in 1983 there were no barriers to stop me walking beside Bow Creek all the way to the River Thames, but not long afterwards this whole bank was closed off to the public. There have long been plans to open part of it as a riverside walkway, with the northern part of it built but fenced off, and in 2004 following a public competition a winning design was selected for a bridge further downstream a little below the Lower Lea Crossing across the river as a part of this foot and cycle path to Trinity Buoy Wharf. But in 2005 the Thames Gateway Delivery Unit withdrew funding and the bridge was never built. The last time I visited the area a couple of years ago the riverside walkway was open but ended around a hundred yards south of Canning Town station.

Flood Barrier, Bow Creek, Newham, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36a-23_2400

There is now a bridge across close to Canning Town station leading to the development of City Island which has replaced the edible oil factory on the peninsula which opened in 2014, though a far less interesting design than the competition winner.

The empty area to the east of Bow Creek which can be seen in some of these pictures was from 1837 to 1912 the home of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company Ltd. More recently it was for some years given over to a construction works yard for Cross Rail and is now home to the Limmo Peninsula, a largely residential development scheme by a partnership between TfL and Grainger plc.

You can visit my Flickr album with more pictures of the area by clicking on any of the pictures above which will take you to a larger version from where you can explore the album. Future posts will look at a series of panoramic pictures I made in 1992 and continuing my walk to the Thames.


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.