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Save King’s Yard Campaign

King's Yard: Belfast truss roofKing's Yard: Belfast truss roofThe ODA has gone back on the original proposal contained in the LDA’s first planning application and Olympic and Legacy Masterplans to retain the finest industrial buildings in the Olympic area at King’s Yard, Carpenter’s Road. The works, which were used for making sweets and lozenges, were erected between 1902 and 1912 and include two buildings with curved roofs on timber Belfast trusses. These are probably some of the few surviving early 20th Century industrial examples of this type of roof truss in England. Most extant 20th Century Belfast truss roofs are on WW1 aircraft hangers. English Heritage historians recommended the whole site should be listed but this was rejected by E H listing inspectors who advised the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which is responsible for organising the Olympics, not to list the works.

The original plan was to include King’s Yard in the food and beverage court but in the latest ODA proposals King’s Yard is to be used as the Olympics Energy Centre. The only part of the site to be retained will be the former starch department on the Hackney Cut which has pitched roofs. In addition to concern at the loss of the buildings the site is not large enough to house the proposed energy centre, which would be better located on the River Lea just upstream from Old Ford Locks. A further advantage of this location for the energy centre is that it would be a more suitable place for bringing in by barge and storing the required wood chip to generate electricity for the Olympics and the Legacy.

Save King’s Yard Campaign proposes a comprehensive vision for the waterways which includes using battery powered boats to provide regular passenger boat services as an alternative transport system for East Londoners and tourists. Boats providing this service would use an adjoining waterways centre to recharge their batteries with electricity from the Energy Centre. King’s Yard Campaign advocates using King’s Yard as a social enterprise centre for local businesses. Retaining these fine buildings by creating a new energy centre at a better location and adopting a broader vision for the use of the waterways in the so-called Water City would provide real benefits for the Olympics and East London.


King's Yard (1)King's Yard (1)In response to the February 2007 Olympics Consultation, Tom Ridge objected to the use of KING’S YARD, CARPENTER’S ROAD as the proposed energy centre; and suggested that all its buildings should be retained and reused as a social enterprise centre for local businesses. Also that the proposed energy centre should be on a larger site on the River Lea, next to a waterway centre to make full use of the rivers and canals (including the canals in Tower Hamlets).

Tom Ridge’s 13 March 2007 letter of objection (and its enclosed letter re. EAST END WATERWAYS) is attached, also drawings of the three main buildings in KING’S YARD and four photographs.

The national importance of KING’S YARD is summarised in part (3) of Tom Ridge’s letter of objection. In addition, it is:

  • the only fully surviving example of Clarnico’s six pre-WW2 works in Old Ford and Hackney Wick
  • one of London’s few surviving Edwardian works, complete with its former stable block on the east boundary
  • one of a small group of surviving late-C19 / early-C20 works at Old Ford and Hackney Wick with ‘transitional structures’: two early internal steel frames in the former starch department, and steel girders on ground-floor cast-iron columns in the former preserving and lozenge departments
  • one of the few surviving works in England with early-C20 Belfast truss roofs – on the two-storey parts of the former preserving department (photos 1 and 2) and former lozenge department

King's Yard (3)King's Yard (3)King's Yard (4)King's Yard (4)The proposed energy centre at KING’S YARD would retain the former starch department (on the Hackney Cut) (photo 3) but would require the demolition of the former preserving department and former lozenge department (three-storey part, photo 4), and all the other buildings. The former starch department would suffer ‘internal modifications’ for use as a woodchip store, and all its canalside would be concealed by a long, tall ‘loading platform’, which would project over the towpath.

English Heritage has advised against listing KING’S YARD. This advice has been accepted by DCMS and Tom Ridge is appealing. Regardless of the outcome, East London must not lose these nationally important buildings.

The various points in Tom Ridge’s letter of objection to ODA are not even briefly mentioned in the ODA’s May 2007 VOLUME II on consultation, because this only summarises issues raised by numerous consultees. Obviously, Tom Ridge is writing again, on behalf of the campaign, and hopes that other residents and organisations in the four ‘Olympics’ Boroughs and elsewhere will write to the ODA in support by 15 June 2007.

To assist the campaign, Tom Ridge has drafted two short ‘standard’ letters for people to use and send by post (address on 13 March 2007 letter of objection) or email:


Dear Vivienne Ramsey
I / we object to King’s Yard being mostly cleared for the proposed energy centre because its historic industrial buildings are the only ones left in the Olympic area capable of being reused. I / we wish to see all six of them retained and reused as a social enterprise centre for local businesses serving the Olympics and the Legacy; and as a living memorial to the lower Lea valley’s former importance as London’s largest industrial area.

I / we believe that King’s Yard is too small for an energy centre capable of meeting Legacy requirements. A larger site on the River Lea is needed.


Dear Vivienne Ramsey
I / we support the SAVE KING’S YARD CAMPAIGN proposals for a combined energy and waterway centre on the River Lea (at the southern end of the present Bow Industrial Park, Carpenter’s Road). The Olympic area is described as a ‘water city’ and I / we would like to see the waterways (including the canals in Tower Hamlets) being used for freight and regular passenger transport services etc., as proposed by the campaign.

The passenger boats or ‘waterbuses’ and some types of freight barge should be battery operated and recharged with electricity generated by the energy centre. Waterbus stops, jetties and wharves also need to be built for Olympic and Legacy use; and the waterways regularly dredged.

I / we understand that the proposed energy centre would burn woodchips, probably supplied by the Forestry Commission. My / our support for the Energy Centre is only on condition that:
- it is combined with a waterway centre on the River Lea at the above site
- the woodchips are brought by barge (mostly up the River Lea from the Thames)
- released wood smoke from the c.55m chimney shaft is kept to a harmless minimum
- hot water is used for central heating the Legacy housing site

The SAVE KING’S YARD CAMPAIGN hopes that many individuals / organisations will send both letters to the ODA.

c/o Tom Ridge
7 Shepton Houses
Welwyn Street E2 0JN

All enquiries write or telephone 020 8981 7361 (sorry, no answerphone)

30 May 2007

Submitted on behalf of Tom Ridge

Attachements below are objection letters and line drawings

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