Back in Silvertown after a few years on a very mild and enjoyable 1st day of 2022. I photographed the Northern part of Silvertown near Canning Town in April 21. Lots of changes already back then but I wasn't prepared for what was coming next. Shot above taken by DLR platform towards North Greenwich.
Purple: new building sites
Green: potential new building sites
Yellow: building site in waiting
Red: New developments
Red dots: my walk
I left West Silvertown DLR station and first walked North towards Canning Town. As you approach the underpass that takes you through the Royal Docks by the end/start of the Express trading centre, once Dock Road presents itself as a building site gate. The whole experience of the landscape is quite overwhelming to look at. Flat, barren all the way to the mouth of the Lea River. Part of cylinders laying in waiting for more sections of Crossrail to be installed I presume.
I walk back and pass the DLR station, make a loop following Knights Road and Bradfield Road. The industrial estate is still standing but not for long I reckon as a new building testifies by at its Northern point by North Woolwich Road.
By the end of Bradfield Road you can still access Lyle Park by the playground/tennis courts entrance. The park hasn't changed and will probably remain. New building site next door is planning a bite of it in a near future as the picture below shows.
I then enter a brand new neighbourhood called Riversape developed and run by Ballymore Oxley (your local developer!)
I must admit, for once, they have done a good job. There is nothing new when it comes to the architecture. It is the same bland mid/high rise, pricey. But it feels like they attempted to create a community rather than just soulless lego boxes for once. They have orchestrated a subtle mix of water walks, green areas, vistas, quirky corners and bendy roads. There is also a school and a nursery, and gyms, shops and restaurants. There is life, activity and lots of potential. Lots of the commercial premises are still vacant but let's see after Covid how it goes. I personally recommend you highly the brand new Royal Wharf Pier. Beautiful design stunning views that takes your walk right in the middle of the Thames.
I leave Riverscape for the Thames Barrier Park. A more familiar landscape welcomes me. I detour across main road to investigate if Southern section of Royal Docks has experienced any changes. I tiptoe by the fences on Charles Street but no change is catching my eyes. I reckon the proximity with airport runway makes investors quite reluctant to invest here.
I come back towards the Thames and walk on Thames road until I can go no further. New developments rising within the industrial environment. I come back to North Woolwich road towards the Tate & Lyle Sugars in order to witness the completion of the Crossrail junction by walking above it. It is now time to go home and I catch the DLR at the airport.
I cannot see any "rejuvenation" happening in North Woolwich any time soon but a transformation has already taken place next door in Silvertown. The new neighbourhood stand proudly over its neglected past and non-desirable lands. Silvertown has morphed into this continuous modern urban shoreline which can be found anywhere else globally. The Thames will attract a lot more though in the decades to come. We already have seen it in Central London between Westminster and Battersea Park. It is happening in Deptford and Greenwich, and it will spread further East. But who says "high-standards" in a big city also means cheap labor, accommodations, recycling and industries to be standing by sadly. Where is this "nearby" going to be if everything looks the same?
Let me post Mark Knopfer's Silvertown lyrics before I forget, as it once was