By Chris Guy posted on 11 Jan 2014 in Urban
Woolwich Ferry

The Woolwich Ferry and Canary Wharf

I’m going to start at the Woolwich Ferry, and although I’ve made this crossing both in a car and on a motorbike, I’ve never crossed as a foot passenger. Once on board I’m pleasantly surprised – the Ernest Bevin is spotlessly clean, freshly painted and has gleaming wooden benches below deck. I was expecting something a little more ‘lived-in’.

Woolwich Ferry

The Ernest Bevin Woolwich Ferry

Woolwich ferry

Interior of the Woolwich ferry

The ferry docks at the North Pier, North Woolwich, which along with Silvertown forms a long, thin strip of land that is essentially separated from the rest of East London by the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert docks which form a long body of water to the north.

There is plenty to explore here; the Tate and Lyle factory, City Airport, the Thames Barrier and the Brick Lane Music Hall…

However the first thing that greets the ring-road-navigator is the rather bleak ‘turn right for the North Circ’ signage – as ring roads go this is not the Périphérique or the M25.

Ring Road? Turn right mate.


I do turn right, and immediately come across the abandoned North Woolwich Station. This was originally part of the Great Eastern Railway network before becoming a museum in 1984. The museum closed in 2008 and the building now stands derelict.

North Woolwich Station

North Woolwich Station (closed)

Heading back into North Woolwich and the Piers Estate I visit the rather utilitarian Church of St John with St Mary and St Edward. This is a joint Anglican and Roman Catholic church designed in 1968 by Laurence King and Partners.

Henley Arms

The Henley Arms, Silvertown

Still on the Piers Estate, and walking west along Albert Road, this is the Henley Arms – a local’s local according to one review on Beer in the Evening. Given the rate of change in East London I will be fascinated to see how this place looks in five years time…

London Crossrail

Work on London's Crossrail project

Continuing along Albert Road, I cross the footbridge and get my first proper look of the work going on to build Crossrail, which has previously been hidden behind the blue hordings. In the background you see the spires of the Brick Lane Music Hall.

Brick Lane Music Hall

The Brick Lane Music Hall

The Brick Lane Music Hall based is now based here in the former St Mark’s Church. It originated in the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in 1992, before moving to Shoreditch and then onto this current site in Silvertown.

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