- Posted Oct. 5, 2008 by Robert Moffat in The Regent's Canal, London. Viewed 2948 times
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Well, here we are at the end of our journey. Limehouse basin - it gets its name because the area first became known for its lime-kilns in the 14th century. In the 1740??s it became the site of England??s first soft paste porcelain factory. Shipbuilding also thrived in the area from the 16th through to the 19th century. Today the basin has been reborn as a marina surrounded by fashionable apartment blocks. Its pretty mixed in the marina - lots of narrow-boats - a beautiful old Thames barge, some older yachts and the inevitable floating gin palace!
But to get to the Thames there is one last lock - a rather curious lock - which unlike all the canal locks is electric and operated by a man. Its a clever swing bridge which transports the road (Narrow Street) sideways and holds up all the traffic - Great!
I watched a posh gin palace thing come in whilst I was there - wish it had been a narrow boat - actually I have sailed out of there in a narrow boat myself - year and years ago and then off up the Thames and into St Katherines Dock - equally posh!
But Limehouse now has the ultimate accolade a Gordon Ramsay gastro-pub! - and very nice it is too! Even though a small bowl of chips is £3! Lovely place which has kept the character of the original building. It has quite a history too - 1830, the well-known brewer Taylor Walker began brewing on the site but the building itself building was constructed in the early 1900's by British Waterways as a purpose-built customs / Dock Master??s house serving the Limehouse Basin.
So journey's end
And a few thoughts about the eight and a half miles from Paddington (Little Venice) to Limehouse.
This canal took a full eight years to build, they had to go north of the capital to avoid upsetting a few large landowners - but maybe because they did it has survived in tact. There are twelve locks and three tunnels and the most interesting fact - the water level is 86 feet lower at Limehouse than at Little Venice.
Some parts of the walk are beautiful - some are pretty crap! Especially the bit between Islington and Victoria Park where only the new buildings seem to add any points of interest. But I have enjoyed this - it has been huge fun and I have discovered a lot about this part of London that I did not know along the way.
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