Hi Everyone, I’ve been living locally for 17 years and snapping away over that time. @Lee and I were chatting recently and thought it might be interesting to create a thread where people can upload photos showing the regeneration of this area over that time. I’m not a professional photographer and some of my shots may be a bit grainy - the older ones have been scanned from negatives but hey, it’s a start. Please let me know what you think and feel free to add your images if you have them. I’ll put a few more on to start the ball rolling… Click on the photos to see a clearer image.
These photos were taken from the top of the multi-storey carpark in Stratford around 2002 during the construction of a giant concrete-lined hole, now topped off with Stratford ‘International’ station. It is known in engineering circles as the Stratford Box. The station building came later, finished in 2004 and I’ll post a photo of that in a minute - looking rather lonely as it was left all on its own for 7 years, inaccessible to anyone but civil engineers, until they built and opened Westfield in September 2011. For anyone interested in this sort of thing, here is a link to the construction of the box and a nice aerial view: http://www.skanska.co.uk/global/Sevices/Piling/Datasheets/Stratford.pdf I think the aerial photo in the article might be my dad’s. He worked on the project as a site and aerial photographer and was told by the engineers at the time, if they didn’t anchor the box deep in to the substrate, the ‘box’ would bob up and out of the ground due to the pressure of the water table! An image I’ve held in my mind to this very day, like some mini-Stratford disaster movie. Thankfully it’s well anchored - so no such danger!
Here’s the station, sitting in the middle of a wasteland circa 2004/5. The image to follow shows early London 2012 Olympic imagery covering the windows of the vacant station.
Close up of the station. I promise this is the last from this particular angle for a while. Only so many photos you can look at showing a construction site! Note the electricity pylons that were still marching over the area at this time - long since buried deep underground as cabling in a deep concrete tunnel.
P.S. In case anyone didn’t realise, the attractive pitched-roof buildings in the foreground are the remnants of old Stratford station - sadly a casualty of the streamlining and modernisation in preparation to cope with the Olympic through-flow of people.
Love it @Nick_Lane, thanks for sharing. This is right up my street. Feel free to post on my E20 FB group too.
Some great pictures Nick, I look forward to seeing more.
I don’t have any pictures of my own from back then, but these aerials on the old Olympic website (courtesy of the National Archives) give quite a good overview of the progression of the construction of the Olympic Park and Athletes Village.
A useful link, thanks @Ben. Glad you like the photos. That’s impetus to look out some more.
Great to see you Saturday at the garden city launch Groundwork london: Mobile Garden City launch - 4th July
I absolutely love this new historical topic idea. It’s exactly the kind of content that I could browse for hours, I also find it facinating looking at before and after pics.
Would you be up for meeting up one evening and taking some photos in exactly the same spot?
Sounds like a good plan Lee. I’ve been sifting through my photos and delighted to have dug out some shots of the waterways pre-Olympic works. Will post below. Life’s a bit manic for me over the next 2-3 weeks but would be good to meet up. Really like the idea of before and afters. By then I’ll have uploaded a few more pictures so we have plenty to work from.
All the waterway photos above were taken on 2 September 2005. Need to revisit sometime to check where they are but at least some are the Lee Navigation Chanel I think. Maybe one or two are around Stadium Island…
Here’s an interesting point of view by diamond geezer in relation to the development of the Stratford railway sidings, goods yards and maintenance sheds - the area we now know as E20. As he points out in his blog, there was already a well established plan in place prior to the Olympics. I have all the original promotional material at home. Huge fold out maps, glossy booklets and exciting proposals: http://diamondgeezer.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/what-if.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/HcFb+(diamond+geezer)
I think the downturn in the finances of the UK and the rest of the world during this period would probably have seriously slowed down work that hadn’t already taken place. We certainly wouldn’t have all the sporting venues that we now are able to enjoy. Also the parkland would have been created on a much smaller budget and I think there would have been less of it with more housing. I remember fondly the (almost naive) optimism of the early part of this Century in relation to these original proposals and the powerful bodies that were driving them forward. Either way, even in my wildest dreams I didn’t imagine we would see all the amazing developments that have come to pass and are intended still to take place over the next decade. It’s very exciting!
Really interesting, Nick.
I was digging around in streetview the otherday, using their back-in-time function. Temple Mills Lane reveals quite a lot from 2008 and 2009.
2009, (approximately next to what is now Chobham Academy on the left). The level of the road is now on top of that black structure, which I think is the underground substation to bury the electric pylons visible in the first shot.
What a fantastic thread! I’ve been intrigued by the history of this area ever since moving in, and used google’s time travel feature as well. I found this angle, which is quite interesting - Like peeping into the past.
Thanks for posting those pics Nick, they’re great!! Are we looking to the west in the images of Stratford international? What are those twin brownish buildings on screen right? And the big one behind the station? Have they been demolished, or am I disoriented…?
And I just found this guy’s photos of Westfield/EV/Velodrome being built -
Also found this one that made me a little excited… Pity he didn’t pan a little to the right!
Going back even further into the archives…
This shot from the 60’s/70s gives an idea of what the area was like before the decline of the railway works. The view is looking South towards Stratford and the terraced street in the foreground is Thornham Grove, currently the site of light industrial buildings including the Dulux Decorator Centre, and soon to change again with future phases of Prospect East. The edge of East Village would be on the extreme right of this view, beyond the railway tracks. In the distance, the third tower of the Carpenters Estate appears to be under construction.
From the Newham Story archives
Real gems in there ^ Managed to spend/waste a whole afternoon pouring over old maps and photos, excellent fun.
I was trying to work out where that photo would have been taken from, as it’s too low for a plane, and I couldn’t think of any tower blocks so close to Thornham Grove.
In the end I found that there used to be a matching pair tower blocks, known as Stratford Point and Newtown Point, both demolished in the 1980’s:
One of them, Newtown Point (the one in the photos above), is a likely vantage point. It was apparently at the western end of Henniker Road, near the junction of Leyton Road, where there is now a row of three distinctly 90’s semis.
I also found this view of Stratford station in the late 60’s looking in the opposite direction, and both the towers are just visible in the background.
Same station view from 1886:
and pre olympics: