A Silvertown & North Woolwich Walk

Route & what to see


A 5 mile linear walk from Custom House to George V DLR Stations including three riverside parks and London City Airport (open - Mon - Fri 5:30am-9:15pm, Sat 5:30am-1pm & Sun 11:30am-9:15pm). It is suggested you use the DLR to travel between Barrier Park and City Airport but a walking route is given

From Custom House Station follow the signs to ExCel
On the right some old warehouse buildings remain

Walk alongside ExCel then go down and use the transporter bridge to cross Royal Victoria Dock
The docks were constructed in 1850-5 (Victoria), 1875-80 (Royal Albert) & 1912-20 (King George V). The bridge gives extensive views over the 'Royals' including City Airport, new housing schemes and the riverside Tate & Lyle factory. Tate (cube sugar) started in 1878 and Lyle (Golden Syrup) in 1881. They merged in 1921. The derelict Millennium (Spillers) Mills of the 1930s and D Silo (1920) stand by the Pontoon Dock (1855) which originally had a hydraulic ship lift for the repair of ships. A passenger cabin could travel on the underside of the transporter bridge if it ever becomes economically viable!

Go straight ahead between the shops and through the houses to Evelyn Road.
There are some award-winning Peabody homes here with diachronic glazing.

Go down Boxley Street opposite.
This has Peabody homes clad in translucent silver and glass fibreglass but also retains some of the older houses of the area.

Cross North Woolwich Road and go into Bradfield Road opposite. This road gives access to Lyle Park.
The riverside park was provided for the factory workers and other local people in 1924. Inside are the gates from the Harland & Wolff Shipbuilding Yard.

Return to North Woolwich Road and go right.
The rubber and telegraph works of SW Silver & Co which gave the area its name were founded in 1852 and demolished in the 1960s. In 1917 some 69 people were killed, many injured and large amounts of property destroyed in the Silvertown Explosion at Brunner Mond's chemical works.

Cross by the Fire Station and take the path running alongside the north side of the main road.
To the left are the derelict mills and Pontoon Dock site seen from the bridge. This 59 acre area is due for mixed used redevelopment as Silvertown Quays and will include an aquarium by Terry Farrell & Partners.

Cross North Woolwich Road at the lights into Barrier Park (signposted).
There is a board with a map of the park. The cafe and toilets are located in the nearby pavilion. This 22 acre park, opened in November 2000, was a former industrial site. It includes a planted 'Green Dock' and a Pavilion of Remembrance. There are wild flower, events and play areas and the riverside promenade gives views of the Thames Barrier - London's Flood Defence structure (constructed 1974-82). Apartments have been built on the west side.

DLR Route
From the park take the train from Pontoon Dock eastwards to London City Airport
The airport was built in 1982-7. Refreshments are available in the terminal building and the walkway running along the dockside gives good views. On the far side are the Central Buffet (1883) and Dock Managers Office by Vigers & Wagstaffe

Walking Route
From the park return to North Woolwich Road and continue along the path and then the road. At the roundabout cross and take the cycle path (signposted East Ham & Beckton) running on the east side of Connaught Bridge. This emerges at another roundabout from where there is the option of continuing into
London City Airport.
The airport was built in 1982-7. Refreshments are available in the terminal building and the walkway running along the dockside gives good views. On the far side are the Central Buffet (1883) and Dock Managers Office by Vigers & Wagstaffe

Both Routes
From the parking area cross Newland Street and go along Lord Street to Albert Road.
The works of Tate & Lyle are opposite.

At the end go left along Albert Road
St John's Church was opened in 1968. The BT Satellite Receiving Station occupies the site of former telegraph works. The Royal Standard pub at one time spanned two licensing authorities so at times you could drink on one side but not the other! It was re-built in 1898.

Go right into Pier Road which gives access to the Royal Victoria Gardens
These opened as the Royal Pavilion in 1851 and had a number of attractions. They were purchased by the LCC in 1890 to serve as a public park.

Continue along Pier Road
There had been a ferry across the river here since 1308. This may account for the fact that North Woolwich was part of Kent and later Greenwich Borough until fairly recently when control was handed to the Borough of Newham. The railway to North Woolwich was built by Bidder in 1846-7 who also ran a Penny Ferry. This closed in 1908 having been superceded by the Free Ferry which opened in 1889. Originally paddle steamers were used but these were replaced by 3 diesel vessels in 1963. The ferry is still well used by traffic - less so by passengers! After the Princess Alice disaster in 1873 it was felt that an alternative crossing was needed and the foot tunnel was opened in 1912, the first attempt of 1876 having failed. Like the ferry this is still available for public use. The station was built in 1854 but was bombed in 1940. In 1984 the building became a museum to the Great Eastern Railway (closed 2009). The present station was opened in 1979.

Return along Pier Road across Albert Road to George V DLR station.

London Docklands An Architectural Guide by Williamson & Pevsner
More on the Princess Alice Disaster [
click here]
Central Silvertown - an abandoned community [
click here]
The Silvertown Explosion [
click here]


london-footprints.co.uk 2009

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