Festival to mark Olympic canal opening

Carpenters Road Lock

Carpenters Road Lock - Credit: Archant

A waterways festival is to be held in East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to mark the reopening of the unique Carpenter’s Road Lock, the final link in the area’s waterways network

The lock is part of what was until a few years ago a little-known and semi-navigable network of former mill-streams and tidal creeks known as the Bow Back Rivers and accessed from the lower River Lee. As part of the work for the 2012 Olympics parts of the system were rebuilt, including making some sections non-tidal, building a new lock at Three Mills, and restoring the derelict City Mill Lock. However after the Games, the network remained shut during the Olympic Legacy work and also for Crossrail railway construction.

Now this work is complete, and thanks to £800,000 from the heritage Lottery Fund, Carpenters Road Lock is under restoration. With its radial guillotine gates at each end, it is unique –Joanna Steele, Canal & River Trust heritage activities officer describes it as ‘one of a kind’ – and was last used in the 1960s.

Originally planned for completion in May, the reopening date has now been put back to the 28 August bank holiday, when it will be marked by the East London Waterway Festival. This event, run by the Canal & River Trust, together with the London Legacy Development Corporation, St Pancras Cruising Club and the Inland Waterways Association, aims to “celebrate everything the local rivers and canals offer to people in the area.” Boaters wishing to take part should get in touch with waterways@queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk.