Newham

The Aquatic Centre and International Quarter at Stratford

Newham

With the formation of Greater London in 1965, the former Essex county boroughs of West Ham and East Ham were joined together to create the London Borough of Newham.

Joining them was North Woolwich which used to be inconveniently lumped together with Woolwich on the opposite side of the river.

The Thameside areas of North Woolwich and Silvertown are part of London’s Dockland’s, but generally speaking, regeneration has been slower than the areas around the docks nearer to the city centre.

The first major project was the Thames Barrier which stretched across the river between Silvertown and New Charlton. It was designed to protect London from high tides surging up the Thames from the North Sea and flooding the city. Work started in 1974 and took ten years to complete, and up until now at least, has been successful it what it was built to do.

The Thames Barrier

Another thing that stretches across the river is the Emirates Airline cable car which transports people across the sky between the Royal Victoria Dock and Greenwich. Most people seem to regard it as a tourist attraction though rather than a serious commuter transport facility.

There are (or were) three docks that make up London’s Royal Docks – the Royal Victoria, the Royal Albert and King George V, and sandwiched between the last two is another location where you can be whisked across the sky – the London City Airport, but the days of ships loading and unloading cargo at the docks are long gone.

View of Royal Victoria Dock from the Emirates Cable Car
View of Royal Victoria Dock from the Emirates Cable Car

The docks have been generally smartened up and a large new exhibition and international convention centre (Excel) constructed, but the area has still some way to go to before its industrial base has completely gone.

Excel was a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics, where sports such as boxing, judo, fencing and weightlifting took place, but the main location for the London Olympics was at Stratford, an area that desperately needed a lift.

Dockers Statue outside of Excel
Dockers Statue outside of Excel

Before 2012 there would have been very little to entice tourists to this part of the city, but with the regeneration that the games provided (although not to everyone’s advantage), there are now more reasons to come here.

Apart from the great sports facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, there is also an emphasis on creating an environmentally friendly habitat along the Lea Valley, and that’s not all. The adjacent Westfield shopping centre offers a major source of retail therapy, and future plans include a cultural hub which will see the likes of the Victoria & Albert Museum bring some much-needed escapism to this part of East London.

A large number of local people are in low paid work and the political allegiances are firmly in favour of the Labour Party. In the 2014 borough elections Labour won all 60 seats.

The estimated number of people living in Newham in 2017 was 348,000, and at the last count 16.7% were white British and 32% Muslim.

The Olympic Bell in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The Olympic Bell in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park
The ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park
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8 thoughts on “Newham

  1. paul Smith

    Oh for the photographic delights of West Ham power station with its coolers and not to forget the over the top smells of the old abattoir situated just south of the Olympic Park on the other side of the High Street. Fortunately my Dad demolished it around 1966, otherwise if it had still been working you wouldn’t have had a single punter in the stadium, but I bet Usain Bolt would have gone a lot quicker to get away from the awful stink. The Blackwall Tunnel approach road and the A12 in from Clapton and Hackney condemned a lot of the local industry too.

    Reply
    1. Malcolm Post author

      Without being unkind to the borough it’s good to know that people think that decent pictures can be taken there. Thanks Sarah

      Reply
    1. Malcolm Post author

      You’re too kind Albert. Thanks. Looking forward to your accounts of your latest trip to DPRK

      Reply

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