of the Thames basin
A walk from Greenwich Observatory
to Parliament Hill
It's been a
few years since we completed this walk and London has transformed itself.
Whenever our path occasionally crosses the route we took that day we
cannot help but note the changes:
Owing to a rare government
change to VAT regulations the Greenwich Observatory no longer charges
admission. You can join the long queue of people having their photo taken
in front of the meridian marker for free (but you would be better spending
your time wondering over Thomas Harrison's beautiful clocks).
The Millennium Dome has opened and closed. The Docklands Light Railway now
extends south under the river as far as Lewisham (and the station
architecture is a absolutely awful).
The Isle of Dogs is beginning to resemble the Manhattan Waterfront as more
of the basins are drained and reclaimed for new buildings - there are now
two towers flanking the original Canary Wharf tower. Much of the 1930's
housing is being replaced with new apartment blocks.
Canary Wharf also has a fantastic brand new underground station (in fact
we did spend an enjoyable wet afternoon visiting all of the stations of
the Jubilee line extension and they are all excellent, from the spiders
lair vault of Westminster to the crashing glass wave at Stratford and at a
time when there is much doom and gloom surrounding the Dome and the
Wembley/Pickets Lock fiasco these developments should be highlighted as
examples of what can be done with will, determination and good planning).
If you enjoyed this account or have any comments please let us know by
using our contact form. Brian
did and contributed the following regarding the Canary
'I just wanted to confirm that the resident that mailed you was correct. In February 1996, A
van was left outside the South Quay Plaza. It contained an IRA Bomb which ripped apart many buildings. 2 people were killed and many injured. A few of the buildings around the area had to be taken down. The Plaza itself was replaced by the new one. The other buildings had to be taken apart bit by bit. The structure that you have noted is part of one such building. It has taken a while to dismantle the building because of the structural damage caused by the bomb. It HAS to be taken apart slowly and safely. I think that an amendment needs to be made to your quote about "A reminder that quite a lot of developers went broke over these projects" as the comment was wrong. If anything, it is a reminder that because the docklands is a thriving buisness area, it is a target for
We are happy to stand corrected but have left the original
quote as it stands as it was our view on the day we made the walk and it was
the case that, in 1992, when Olympia & York (developers of the first
tower) went into bankruptcy with debts of £8 billion, it was the biggest
corporate failure to date. Docklands is now a thriving business area but
this was not always the case and even at the time we made this walk (1999)
there was much unutilised floor space.
New! We have now posted our account of an entirely different tour -
a trip to the Pyrenees. Click
here for details.
The Isle of Dogs/Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf to Limehouse Basin
The Regency Canal Pub Crawl
Camden to Hampstead