East London Waterway Festival announced for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this August

QUEEN Elizabeth Olympic Park is set to host a major new waterway event this year, with the East London Waterway Festival due to take place on Monday, August 28.

It is being run by the Canal & River Trust alongside the London Legacy Development Corporation, St Pancras Cruising Club and the Inland Waterways Association.

The event is being held to celebrate everything the local rivers and canals offer to people in the area.

There will also be particular focus on the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock, a £1.8 million project in the heart of the Park which is one of the final pieces of a ten-year programme to regenerate the Bow Back Rivers and preserve an important part of London’s industrial heritage.

The completed lock site will form the centrepiece of the festival, which will include a boat flotilla, dragon boat racing, canoeing taster sessions, free boat trips and pedalos.

There will also be live music and dance performances, activities for children, food stalls and more.

The Carpenters Road Lock project is led by the Canal & River Trust and includes £680,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £100,000 from London Legacy Development Corporation and £4500 from the Inland Waterways Association.

Joanna Steele, Canal & River Trust heritage activities officer, said: “The waterways that weave through this part of London have been given a new lease of life in recent years. It will be fantastic to celebrate everything they have to offer, alongside so many local community groups, boaters, artists and more.

“We’re delighted to be coinciding the festival with the completion of our project to restore Carpenters Road Lock. It’s a one of a kind, and will help open up the water space in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in ways that haven’t been possible previously. I’d encourage everyone to put the event in their diaries, and to get in touch if you need more information about anything.”

Carpenters Road Lock is significant from an engineering point of view, as it had the only ‘double radial lock gates’ in the country. Built in the 1930s, this design included two convex-shaped gates that lifted up vertically to enable boats to pass through.

Carpenters Road Lock. PHOTO: CRT

In the second half of the 20th-century, the Bow Back Rivers fell out of use and the lock became unusable, with the last passage by boat through the lock recorded in the 1960s. The advent of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games saw major works bringing new life to the waterways in what is now Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

 

If you would like any more information about the East London Waterway Festival, including how to volunteer or contribute to one of the many activities, contact joanna.steele@canalrivertrust.org.uk

 

Any boaters keen to take part in the festival are encouraged to get in touch with waterways@queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk

 

For more information about the waterways in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Carpenters Road Lock project visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/carpentersroadlock

 

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