Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Derelict London Walk - Silvertown

Sunday 19-July-2015

Another walk from Paul Talling. This time Silvertown from his book on Derelict London.

We started at the Tate+Lyle factory, formerly the Tate factory, and source of wealth for Sir Henry Tate - he of Tate Gallery fame. He also founded the more modest Tate Institute built for his sugar workers.

We then went to look at part of the new Crossrail track. This stretch utilises pre-existing Victorian tunnels and tracks of disused railway lines being given a new lease of life.

Tay Wharf was the manufacturing base of marmalade makers Keiller and Sons from 1880 until 1992. Keiller was from Dundee on the River Tay hence the name.

You can see the disused rail tracks no longer in use but the level crossing warning sign remains. This is our tour group.

Georges Diner "Allegedly serving up the best fry-ups and home-made steak and kidney pies for miles around, and run by Brian (not George), the clientele here was a great mixture of builders, lorry drivers and Canary Wharf suits." http://www.derelictlondon.com/cafes.html

The old Charing Cross Pier formed a floating bar in the defunct London Pleasure Gardens.

"The London Pleasure Gardens fiasco has cost Newham council more than £4 million for the five weeks it was open. [...] It opened at the end of June to take advantage of an expected surge in visitor numbers thanks to the 2012 Olympics. But just a week after the Games themselves opened on July 27, the company operating the site, London Pleasure Gardens Ltd, went into administration after events were cancelled and predicted visitors failed to show up." Read more at BDOnline...

Through the gates we could see a large building, These mills replace the previous flour mills that were the largest in the UK until destroyed by a huge TNT explosion in 1917.

A quick, obligatory look at that marvel of modern engineering that is the Thames Barrier.

Adjacent to the barrier is Waterside Park including a dock that has been filled in and landscaped with hedges trimmed to resemble waves.

In one park donated by the philanthropic Mr Tate we came across the incongruous shipyard gates from Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff who had repair facilities in North Woolwich.

The other half of Tate+Lyle - a sculpture at the entrance to Abram Lyle's golden syrup factory.

More disused rail tracks running alongside North Woolwich Road and close to the UK's first ever flyover - well there had to be a first one and Silvertown was the trailblazer.

Crossing the road and through a short passage took us into another world in Galleons Point Marina. The contrast between the yacht owning apartment blocks and the industrial dereliction could not be more stark.

A mere 4.1 miles at a very leisurely pace but after 21 miles the day before that was fine with us.

Thanks again to Paul Talling for a fascinating glimpse into London's more recent industrial history. http://www.derelictlondon.com/

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