Early October, 2010 saw over 50 members of the North Hampshire National Trust Centre heading for an unfamiliar part of London – namely the East End – in order to inspect a building site!
We decanted from our coach at the rather delightfully named Pudding Mill Lane Station and started to walk in the direction of our viewing point. To get to this we had to be ‘examined’ by two guards, who turned out to be friendly gentlemen from Nepal – they allowed us on site and off we went uphill to our view point.
Looking down on the site it looked incredibly large – in fact it covers some 500 acres in total – and it was very busy. The ground was covered with green huts of various sizes, enormous lengths of girders, pipes of different colours and heaps of earth and sand, all held in by chicken wire. Round the outskirts of all this was a road, busy all the time with a variety of vehicles going to and from their various projects.
Next to us was the 80,000 seat stadium, nearing completion and opposite was the easily recognized Velodrome. Further along and still under construction, were the 11 residential blocks, each many storeys high, with dozens of white painted cranes hovering above them and pointing in various directions. These buildings are to house the 17,000 athletes and officials and afterwards will be transformed into 3,000 new affordable homes for sale or rent to the local people. The construction is set to be completed in the summer of 2011 and will undergo many stringent tests during this time.
After about an hour at the Olympic site we re-boarded our coach to continue out of London to Waltham Abbey. It was a relief to drive along the quiet roads through Woodford, plus a slice of Epping Forest, to arrive at Waltham Abbey, where we stopped for lunch.
Some of us visited the Abbey church, where legend tells us that King Harold was buried after the Battle of Hastings, but no-one is definite about the actual site. Gunpowder, silk and calico printing were important industries here. The Abbey itself dates back to 610 AD but was destroyed in 1544 and reconstructed in 1566 – it is situated in very pleasant grounds.
Lastly, we continued on to Broxbourne in the Lea Valley for a canal cruise and cream tea – very acceptable. It is here that the Olympic rowing is to take place.
I think it all should make us proud to be British!
[Article and photos by Mary Taylor]
Membership of the North Hampshire National Trust Centre is open to all National Trust card holders. If you are interested in joining and participating in the events please contact:
Annis Mendham, 01420 83501 or click the ENQUIRY tab above.