Green Bridge

Green Bridge

Today, you can walk along a ribbon of green space bordering the Regent Canal from Limehouse through the Mile End Park and on to Victoria Park in Hackney areas once considered as sites for the park. In the early C19th health campaigners were concerned that the poor in the East End of London had no access to open parkland. A petition supporting Metropolitan improvement in the form a park in 1840 was signed by 30,000 people. In 1842 The Victoria Park Bill was passed unopposed, there were two sites up for consideration: Lime House to Mile End in the South and East of Bethnal Green in the north. The northern site was chosen because it was the cheaper option.

The Ragged School

Along the bank of the canal there are still some C19th warehouses interspersed with new development. One warehouse contains the Ragged School Museum which opens Tuesdays and Wednesdays. By luck, the manager spotted me taking photographs and invited me in to look round even though it was not an open day. It opened as a school in 1876 by Thomas Barnardo who gave up his medical training to open a free school for the poor. Once an area for the poor of London but now an area for speculative property developers and foreign buyers. The flat pack waterside apartments with the obligatory bright colour flash litter the banks of the canal.

Canal Boats on Regents Canal

Canal Boats on Regents Canal

A green bridge spans the north and south section of Mile End Park allowing you to continue walking in parkland whilst crossing the busy Mile End Road.

Guardian Angel Church Mile End

Guardian Angel Church Mile End

The spire of the Victorian Gothic Guardian Angels church remains the imposing landmark in this area. Arts and Ecology Pavillions overlook a small lake which is close to the former site of the New Globe Pleasure Gardens 1840.

Site of the New Globe Pleasure Gardens

Site of the New Globe Pleasure Gardens

At the point where the Hereford Canal joins the Regents notice the granite pathway: cobbled stones bordered on both sides with slabs. A pathway built to last and a reminder of the industrial heritage of the East End. Entrance into Victoria Park is through the Cricketers Gate. The area north of the park appears to be now called Victoria Park Village and there are lots of specialist shops and places to eat.

Pagoda in Victoria Park

Pagoda in Victoria Park

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