We took a train this weekend to Bromley-by-Bow in the east end of London, a journey of about 1 hour and started our walk towards the Olympic park at Stratford along the towpaths lining the network of waterways and canals. Our walk took us along to the Greenway, a designated walking route to the Olympic Park (formerly known as the ‘sewer bank’).
This path follows the line of Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s Northern Outfall Sewer still flowing today and which ended the practice of discharging untreated sewage into the Thames back in the mid 1800s and an end to what was called ‘The Great Stink’ in London. Further along we saw the Grade ll listed Abbey Mills Pumping Station designed by Bazalgette, an elaborate Byzantine styled building, with two Moorish styled chimneys and often referred to as the Cathedral of Sewage!
Next we came to the Three Mills an early 19th century Custom House; Clock Mill with its 18th century clock-tower and oast house chimneys; and House Mill. This Grade l listed building was used for (at different periods) grinding corn, making gunpowder and distilling gin! The Mill now shares the site with the Three Mills film studios.
There is an abundance of disused 19th century factories and warehouses along the route, some of which have been turned into artists studios and others converted into apartments. The canals and waterways were full of narrow boats,former working boats of the 18th century which carried large loads or used for towing barges, which are now used for leisure or quite often accommodation.
This 19th century lock-keeper's cottage was a delight to see.
At the end of the Greenway we arrived at our destination and found the bright green Viewtube and temporary outdoor Olympic exhibition area. This is where we stopped for a well earned coffee, giving us excellent views of the Olympic site, including the Stadium, Aquatic Centre and Velodrome. Next to the Stadium is the red steel- framed ‘sculpture’ The Orbit Tower which is thought to be Britains biggest and tallest piece of public art and which will eventually house a viewing platform to give visitors spectacular views across London.
A lovely day out, and as we were not lucky enough to get any tickets for the events, a chance to see it for ourselves. The bonus being that we were able to take in parts of east London that we'd never experienced before. A return journey is a definite!