Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Qheen Elizabeth II Olympic Park

Did we get to the park on Monday last week after our diversion around Bow Church?
We entered the park by the Threes Mills tide mills and soon encountered the white elephant that is Three Mills Lock. 
"The lock cuts off this section of the Bow Back Rivers from the tide, creating new opportunities for leisure boats, water taxis, trip boats and floating restaurants. It also helps freight traffic such as barges carrying construction materials to the sites of the 2012 Olympics and Stratford City".
The section in italics is utter tosh.
Prescott Lock, as it is also known, was built in 2009 in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. and could handle two 350 ton barges at a time. But it never has.

British Waterways spent £20m in building a lock which has never been used as intended.  The successor to BW - C&RT - now says it was built for flood control (The Bow Back Rivers are tidal)  but a lock is not needed to control tides.  Until the 1960s there was an operable sluice here doing the job adequately.  It was removed in the 1980s. By whom?  Why, BW of course.  £20m represents a whole year's boat license income for BW.
Abbey Mill Sewerage Pumping Station

Not far from the lock is the Abbey Lane sewerage pumping station..  For such an unsavoury purpose this is a fairly elegantly executed design.

However I prefer the 19th century version nearby which was designed by Joseph Bazelgette. When we last visited this area it was impossible to get a clear view of this attractive building because of the trees.  I think the view from the Greenway was cleared for the benefit of the Olympic tourists.

Alongside the Abbey Mill pumping station is an elevated pathway which is now called the East London Greenway. It houses the sewer that Bazelgette built and until twenty years ago was usually referred to as Sewerbank. 

We walked along  Sewerbank until we reached the Olympic Park.

We entered the park near to the pool. This is in use and must be a wonderful place to go swimming.

Were it not for the absence of canal boats this could be an artist's impression of the site.

It did not look quite as tranquil during the Easter holidays.

When we brought the grandchildren here we scaled the ArcelorMittal Orbit which is the name of this sculpture. There are two viewing platforms at the top from which we had some wonderful views over London. It is possible to walk down the steps if you wish but the only means of ascent is by lift.
Six-year-old Dominic was asked by one of the lady staff to count the steps on his way down, which he did.  To save you the effort I will share that knowledge with you: there are 431 steps.

There were strange banging noises emanating from the athletics stadium which we learned was part of the work to prepare it for a non-Olympic life.

The park is well worth a visit: there are some pleasant walking areas and a variety of things to see..
One which took my fancy is this wall of wooden blocks. they can be turned round to create a pattern or letters.

The one thing which will really make this park work is when canal boats are allowed to navigate the canals.  This will guarantee a lasting interest for the visiting public.

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