Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Lee Valley: the Thames to 3 Mills

Walking along the North side of the Thames in Limehouse, past The Grapes Inn (c1583) and the statue of a man entitled 'Another time' by the sculptor Anthony Gormley, you eventually come to where the river Lee flows into the River Thames.

I decided to follow the river and explore some of the areas it passes through. As you leave the River Thames, you enter the Limehouse Basin.

 This is the Basin with its lock. It used to be known as the Regent's Canal Dock as it was the entrance to the Regent's Canal. It was opened in 1812 and was used by barges bringing coal inland from the larger ships which had come up the Thames from Newcastle.

Quite a variety of boats moored in the Basin.

Around the Basin are the high rise apartments and office blocks, a number of them converted warehouses, a reminder of its dockland heritage.

This walk takes you through the heart of the East end of London. It is quiet walking beside the water but the sounds of heavy traffic are not too far away.

The Docklands Light Railway with its driverless trains going over the river.

I walked onto the road here just to get my bearings. Across the road from the river is the Mission. This used to be the Sailors Society Mission. With the demise of the docks it then became a hostel for the homeless. Now it has been converted to luxury apartments, and with easy access to the City of London they command high prices.

Some riverside apartments have terrific views then there are the other ones.

This section is part of the Limehouse Cut which links the River Lee to the Limehouse Basin. It is a canalised river. Its aim is to help the boats negotiate the waterway without having to deal with the tidal bends in the River Lee.

Lock keepers cottages

Bow Locks. The locks link the tidal Bow Creek to the River Lee Navigation (the part of the river which has been canalised). Built in 1850 and then rebuilt in 1930. they were modified again in 2000 to keep the tide out and reduce the silting up of the canal.

Looking back at Canary Wharf and its tall buildings.

The London to Southend rail bridge.

Not a huge clearance between the bridge and the river.

Bromley by Bow Gasworks. In 1809 this was the site of a rocket factory but in 1870 it was bought by the Imperial Gas Company who built their gasworks here. Gas is no longer stored in these containers so it will be interesting to see what happens to these giant iron structures.

As I walked along the river I didn't see any water buses. Not sure they are running at the moment as part of the river is closed up ahead due to the construction of a major new rail line.

I finished the afternoon's walk here at 3 Mills at the wonderful cafe. I will post more about this heritage site in my next post.


  1. Interesting walk. I wondered when you would get to another walk. I like that word canalized river. In Bourton-on-the-Water that was exactly what had been done to the river. Also saw it in Lower Slaughter and Naunton. It's as though the river has been tamed.

  2. I like that word canalized river. That's what we saw had been done to the rivers in Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter, and Naunton.

    Great photo essay. I wondered when you would get back to doing this.

  3. I wonder if you ever track the distance you have walked on these excursions. This one was fascinating. The meeting of two rivers is always something that fascinates me, and the bridging of "old and new" that comes out in your post has elements that I also see here in Vancouver. Lovely post, Fun60. Thanks for the tour!

  4. What a beautiful trip and a lovely photos... Thank you to bring back my memories to the amazing Thames pat...

  5. You find the most interesting walks in London. Does the council clean the green weed out of the river?

  6. Thank you for taking us into your exploration. What a wonderful place!

  7. Many faces of Thames. It was interesting to walk with you along the river. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Driverless trains?? That sounds scary.
    So much interesting history and places you show us.


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