Monday, August 22, 2011

Victoria Park - beached and neglected?

If I half close my eyes it looks a bit like an urban beach!
pen and ink and coloured pencil on mountboard

These are a couple of sketches of the drained lake in Victoria Park in East London.  Which has now been drained for more months and month with no apparent progress in getting it sorted and refilled.

It sits in the middle of my local park which at the moment resembles nothing more than a building site.  All because the Olympics are arriving here next year.

It appears the only concern is whether it will be ready in time for the Olympics (ie by Easter 2012) not whether a decent amount of the park would be ready for enjoyment by the local residents this summer.

So they've fenced off large chunks of the park, emptied the lakes and tried to see how few people they need to have working to maintain a semblance of doing some work.

It used to be one of the best parks in London in which to walk.  It is now a terribly depressing place to visit.  It's also a great big hole in the lives of those people who live locally who don't have gardens and have always relied on the park for their place to go when the sun shines.

But apparently the needs of local residents don't count for much in the eyes of whoever is mismanaging this project at Tower Hamlets Council.

I know I'm not the only resident who is feeling very upset with the way local residents have been treated with respect to the disruption to the park since the beginning of the year.

I can only think it's an indication of the way we are going to be treated next year as the Olympics arrive in my local area.

We've already had pronouncements about the Olympic transport problems for the whole of London from Transport for London.  We've also experienced the gridlock which occurred for hours when they tried out the cycle road race recently.

Apparently we are all in severe danger of experiencing severe gridlock for the duration of the Games.  Plus there are going to be something like three million extra journeys on public transport EACH DAY - this on a system which barely copes at peak times at present!  TfL hopes are pinned on Londoners avoiding the use of public transport for the duration of the Games!
TfL hopes Londoners will walk or cycle to the office, work from home or avoid peak times to cut demand by 30 per cent
Londoners warned to avoid games gridlock
Anyway I couldn't bear to draw the lake exactly as it is and these two sketches make it look an awful lot better than it actually is.

The sketch at the top of this post is now with Cathy Gatland in South Africa as my July contribution to A Postcard From My Walk

The one below has also been posted on Watermarks - a group blog about creating art from water

The Drained Lake - Victoria Park - July 2011
8" x 10" pen and sepia ink in Moleskine sketchbook
Both sketches were drawn from The Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park which is a little oasis in the desert of buildings works in Victoria Park right now!


  1. I've seen depressing sights like that too, Katherine...Big Events, money, publicity often take precedence over quality of life and nature, it seems.

  2. How sad the way your local park is languishing. I think you made the best of a bad thing, and I quite like the sketch of the drained lake. Good luck as it sounds like the Olympics will just be a nightmare for you and the rest of the locals, and I think that is not uncommon wherever it is held. I'm sure you will still find a way to make perfectly inspiring sketches so the rest of us may view it through your eyes.


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