The River Thames runs 42 miles within Greater London, plus 100 miles of canals. The majestic waterway has served in past centuries as a thriving transport system. In the 1850s its contaminated waters were the source of a cholera epidemic that appalled the Victorians and led to Joseph Bazalgette building the sewer system.
The waterfronts were long neglected; blocked from view, their beauty obscured by piecemeal, often ugly buildings. From the 1980’s all that changed with waterfront living turning warehouses into apartments and creating landscaping and attractive walking routes. Today, our Thamescape is transformed.
In 2004, Mayor Ken Livingstone created the Blue Ribbon Network Strategy, part of The London Plan, to help protect and regenerate London’s waterways, including the Olympic Park with its strong river focus.
An important exhibition brings together all the key developments along the river, canals and docks, from stunning residential transformation of down-at-heel areas such as Paddington Basin to large-scale masterplans, such as the regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley, including the Olympic Park.
There are plans for 31 bridges across the waterways in the Olympic Park. An extreme sports centre designed by Baca architects will include surfing and diving facilities. Smaller changes on the river that have a big local impact include community moorings and houseboats in Wapping.
Waterfront London starts 10 January and runs until 23 February at New London Architecture, The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1.
Opening times are Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm and Saturday, 10am-5pm. Admission is free. For more information, call 020 7636 4044, or email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.newlondonarchitecture.org
A series of free high-profile breakfast talks accompanies the exhibition.