Abandoned Communities ..... Central Silvertown
Today the part of central Silvertown north of North Woolwich Road is derelict again. Until a few years ago it was the Charles Street Trading Estate, but that estate has closed, and the whole area, including the land around the empty Millennium Mills, is fenced off. At the time of my visit (June 2007) the public were not admitted, and there was a conscientious and strict security guard. The only street remaining open is Charles Street itself, now a dumping place for unwanted items including a coach bearing a police notice.
In the area around Silvertown and the Royal docks there is much to see. St Mark’s church has survived, but has become the Brick Lane Music Hall, a very good example of what can be done to regenerate a derelict building. Two features that on no account should be missed are the Green Dock, a garden that leads down to a war memorial and the Thames barrier, and the high level footbridge over the Royal Victoria dock.
To guide the rest of your walking tour you may wish to use the Perambulations described in Bridget Cherry, Charles O’Brien, and Nikolaus Pevsner, London 5: East, Yale, 2005, or the relevant section of the Exploring East London website.
If you are seeking overnight accommodation do not follow my example and stay at the London Regatta Centre. The only advantages of staying at the Regatta Centre are the views over the Royal Albert Dock and the possibility of becoming a spectator at a major sporting event in or on the dock.
The magnificently derelict Millennium Mills
The former St Mark’s church
Part of London City airport, with St Mark’s church in the background, and an international women’s swimming marathon in the foreground