Home, foreign waters and beyond


The tortuous and complicated waterways around Canning Town and the Greenwich Peninsula created both road and rail opportunities as the once-industrial brownfield sites became available for even more residential development.

Last week our lunch guests from Snowdonia were hoping to visit their grandson who had launched himself into work in the capital’s financial centre.

The availability of affordable flats recently completed seemed an obvious choice as the new cross-London rail link was coming to fruition.  Weekend closures on the DLR complicated the travel plan for these octogenarians, especially as they had already walked across Blackheath and Greenwich Park.  Viewing across the river from our riverside house with its amazing panoramic views across the open waterways, we realized that Canning Town was only two miles away as the crow flies so, drawing a deep breath, down the congested Blackwall Tunnel we went.  It was only then that I realised that these Dockland areas around East India and the Royal Group of docks had changed beyond recognition, as a new network of access roads weaved around the once-familiar road pattern.  Here I must explain that I had been exploring these dockland areas over the years in order to produce topographical records for the now-defunct LDDC.  This Saturday, with trepidation and an ancient A_Z, we plunged our way off the A13 into this once-quiet LCC residential estate, not far away from the mighty new Canning Town interchange offering rapid transit into the capital.

To explain to travellers who now use the underground and DLR links into Docklands and up to Stratford – those massive residential developments on both sides of the Thames are taking shape in and around Canning Town.  The additional Cross Rail stations are making these once forgotten areas into much sought-after residential zones in the near future.

Explorers beware as the infrastructure of road and rail links are devious owing to lack of clear-cut signage.  Take a compass with you!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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