Towpath cyclists – be nicer!

I noticed this write-up from the Camden New Journal (9th October 2015 on page 9) that’s not available on the internet.

The newspaper’s editor Tom Foot reports the Canal & River Trust have appealed for towpath cyclists to be nicer to those who use the towpaths for walking along.

Clearly Canal & River Trust’s towpath ranger Dick Vincent is saying, if cyclists want to use the canal towpaths for speed, the towpath is definitely not the place for it. See the article below for his full quote.CNJ-8-10-2015

Advertisements

A different look for London Canals’ website!

newlook2015

A new look is on the way for London Canals. The old look is quite tired, its the longest the site has ever gone without any changes.

After some further coding, modifications and tweaks, hopefully the new format will be up in the next week or so.

The old version is shown below for the sake of posterity!

oldlook2015

Update 14th October 2015: London Canals’ website has a different look – its ultimately a simpler version of the older style combined with a couple of elements from the newer style that was drafted. The background in the earlier version shown at the top of the page was too distracting in many ways.

Update 29th October 2015: Improved version greatly enhancing the 14/10/2015 release published. A better & more relevant background has been created. Other improvements to be expected in due course.

London Canals' newer look 29th October 2015

The duckweed war is lost!

How green was my canal!

How green was my canal!

Usually duckweed is seen on the canals during the middle of the summer season. This year its been the first for a very very long time duckweed has extended right into the end of the summer season, its now September and this is one of the thickest carpets of the green stuff so far known!

It seems the reason is Canal & River Trust’s (CRT) equipment cant shift the stuff. Back in July CRT claimed they were waging war on the duckweed:

“The weed isn’t harmful to people, but it does spoil the beauty of the canal. Removing it is a painstaking job for the team because the pieces are tiny and they move as the boat makes its way through the water. It’s like trying to mow a moving lawn. With the weather like it is, no sooner have we cleaned a section, than a new lot has floated in, but we’re confident of getting rid of the majority before it gets any worse.” (CRT News 17 July 2015)

CRT News 17 July 2015

CRT News 17 July 2015

In past times specialist clearing machines (Taranchewer, Lee Mean Clean Machine) were able to shift the stuff quite quickly. This summer it seems CRT is relying upon a motley collection of outdated machinery to clear the stuff and its obvious they can’t manage.

Well the duckweed has got worse! Its not ugly, and it has some advantages – for me at least its great photography and for the ducks its extra food, and as this article on the Wapping waterways shows, its not entirely a bad thing – but it does have some disadvantages which CRT have listed on their website – and I’ll add it does look rather unsightly when mixed with floating rubbish.

One would have thought CRT would have got a grip on it by now but considering by the many photographs I have taken in the past few days clearly they havent.

Kirk returns to Tarporley

Yesyerday I did one of my towpath cycle stints along the Regent’s Canal to King’s Cross, and even tho I reached my Granary Square destination as planned, I deemed I had sufficient time before it got dark so decided to extend the trip to the west portal of Islington tunnel.

When I approached the tunnel portal two boats were emerging. The second happened to be Tarporley.

Tarporley emerges from Islington tunnel in the evening of 16 May 2015

Tarporley emerges from Islington tunnel in the evening of 16 May 2015

I was surprised when I saw who the skipper was, its about 25 years since I last volunteered on Tarporley and pretty much the same period of time for it’s skipper too, who happened to be Kirk Martin.

Kirk & his Tarporley crew as they approach the King's Place moorings

Kirk & his Tarporley crew as they approach the King’s Place moorings

Its actually around 20 years since Kirk last regularly skippered Tarporley, bar one stint as part of a community trip as he tells me. On the Tarporley website he is described as ‘one of our current volunteers when he had more hair!’

Kirk on Tarporley (taking a rest from skippering!) as a boat emerges from Laburnum basin 1986

Kirk on Tarporley (taking a rest from skippering!) as a boat emerges from Laburnum basin, 1986

I had not seen Kirk for the best part of a decade so went over to King’s Place to very quickly say hi before cycling home.

Here are a couple of the many pics taken of our stints on Tarporley during the mid-eighties which I have featured on my London Canals website.

Kirk struggles with rubbish around Tarporley's prop at the entrance to the Hertford Union Canal - early 1986

Kirk struggles with rubbish around Tarporley’s prop at the entrance to the Hertford Union Canal – early 1986

Long before Kirk worked on the canals he was one of the crew on the steam operated Humber ferries, as well as being fireman on the LT pannier engines working the engineering trains between various places such as Upminster, Acton, and up the Metropolitan line to places such as the long forgotten Watford (aka Croxley) tips.

I certainly remember the red panniers as they thundered through King’s Cross Met/Circle platforms.

One book on the LT steam workings is Red Panniers co-authored by Kirk.

Another book penned by Kirk features his days on the Humber Ferries, this is Ferries across the Humber.

I have slides of the paddle steamers at work around 1976 when I took a day trip from New Holland pier to Hull.

Besides authoring these books and others, Kirk has also contributed to Waterways World and various railway magazines.

Incidentally this happens to be my 25th posting on my London Canals blog 🙂

Pre Cavalcade pics 1 May 2015

Today I ventured quickly around Little Venice to see what was happening…

Inside the new boat 'Brunel' at Paddington - looks like it'll be in use over the Cavalcade weekend.

Inside the new boat ‘Brunel’ at Paddington – looks like it’ll be in use over the Cavalcade weekend.

Update: No such luck this new barge stayed out of use! A white elephant for Cavalcade!

London Canal museum's Bantam tug arrives for the Cavalcade

London Canal museum’s Bantam tug arrives for the Cavalcade

Who are you looking at? Tug crew looks at goose who looks back. Both parties clearly browned off!

Who are you looking at? Tug crew looks at goose who looks back. Both parties clearly browned off!

Cavalcade steward tries to sort out the moorings for incoming narrowboats

Cavalcade steward tries to sort out the moorings for incoming narrowboats

Some boats not moved from visitor moorings yet! This is the notice on Kaszebe at about 18.00hrs on 1 May 2015.

Some boats not moved from visitor moorings yet! This is the notice on cruiser Kaszebe at about 18.00hrs on 1 May 2015, where Atticus should be moored.

Nice floral display & scarecrow doll on the roof of N/B Lola.

Nice floral display & scarecrow doll on the roof of N/B Lola.

Tug No5 Ann emerges from the tunnel en route from its St Pancras moorings to the weekend festival at Little Venice

Tug No5 Ann emerges from the tunnel en route from its St Pancras moorings to the weekend festival at Little Venice

 

Paddington Bears last days and removal

Here’s a video on You Tube about the final days and removal of the bears around Paddington station.

The Bears (four of them) have returned to Paddington & some overlook the canal once again… Vimeo

Some tweets below from @inpaddington on the Paddington trail auction and the Bears’ return to Paddington Basin.

Thanks to everyone who explored The #PaddingtonTrail & helped raise over £930k

Thanks to everyone who explored The #PaddingtonTrail & helped raise over £930k

Big thank you to @3DEyeLimited who are helping our #PaddingtonTrail bears settle back in at Paddington

Big thank you to @3DEyeLimited who are helping our #PaddingtonTrail bears settle back in at Paddington

Check out the latest arrival in @PaddingtonShop, three more arriving in #Paddington tomorrow

Check out the latest arrival in @PaddingtonShop, three more arriving in #Paddington tomorrow

Paddington Bears by the canal

The Paddington Bears by the canal in…. Paddington, London, W2! All of them!

There are quite a number of Paddington Bears around Paddington to commemorate the new Paddington Bear film starring Hugh Bonneville.

This features all of the Paddington Bears to be found in Paddington, W2, with a particular focus on those that are sited by Paddington Basin/Grand Union/Regent’s Canal.

Despite some of these bears not being by the canal, there is indeed a waterways theme that links all nine Paddington Bears in this part of London.

Mayor of Paddington

Mayor of Paddington

This is the Mayor of Paddington, right by the canal just outside Paddington Station, adjacent to Bishops Bridge Road, and designed by Costain Skanska/Paddington Partnership. (No 3.) Probably the most popular bear by decree of its location immediately outside the Hammersmith & City line entrance to Paddington Station and on the main walking route from Paddington to Little Venice. Typically the bears around here are sited some short distance from the canal (with the exception of Futuristic Robot Bear and Brick Bear.)

Futuristic Robot Bear

Futuristic Robot Bear

Futuristic Robot Bear at the eastern end of Paddington Basin – by Jonathan Ross. (No 6.) This bear is one of only two out of the six around the canals of Paddington & Little Venice that sit nearest the water’s edge, with Futuristic Robot Bear being just the one that is right by the edge of the towpath.

Original design for the Futuristic Robotic Bear

Original design for the Futuristic Robotic Bear

Jonathan Ross ‏@wossy tweeted this pic on Dec 27 2014: “Here’s the original ‘Future Paddington’ I designed for the NSPCC. They thought the cyber-eye was too scary!”

Bearing Up

Bearing Up

The striking fluorescent bear that is known as Bearing Up (No. 4) designed by Taylor Wimpey, again near the canal at Paddington Basin on the route that takes pedestrians across the canal from North Wharf Road to St Mary’s Hospital. This bear is one of my favourites.

Brick Bear

Brick Bear

By the Glass Bridge/The Point at Paddington Basin, just across the canal from Paddington Station, is Brick Bear, designed by Robin Partington & Partners. (No. 5) Brick Bear is sited very near the water’s edge, as shown below.

Brick Bear

Brick Bear

Love, Paddington x

Love, Paddington x

In Rembrandt Gardens, again by the canal, this time in iconic Little Venice, by Warwick Avenue, is the shiny Love, Paddington x, designed by Lulu Guinness. It’s No. 1 of the 50 bears around London. Number one might seem to many to be in an odd location, for this is Little Venice. Not really – author Michael Bond’s home is just a short walk away overlooking the canal.

Love, Paddington x can be said to be the ONLY bear sited adjacent to the Regent’s Canal. Its certainly very near that canal and its distinctive No.1 bridge at Warwick Avenue. One of the Little Venice based boats, Lady A, can also be seen in the picture below.

Love, Paddington x at Little Venice by Warwick Avenue/Regent's Canal

Love, Paddington x at Little Venice by Warwick Avenue/Regent’s Canal

Texting Paddington

Texting Paddington

In the amphitheatre known as Sheldon Square, deep below the level of the Grand Union Canal is colourful Texting Paddington, designed by Westminster Academy. (No. 2) Its not really near the canal although it is sited within the Paddington Central complex, opposite where British Waterways’ former Sheldon Square HQ was once located.

The three Bears of Paddington that are not sited adjacent to the canal are shown next. However, surprise – there is a strong waterways theme that links these three – and it’s something you wont find in any of the many sources describing these 50 Paddington Bears!

Paddington, the original bear

Paddington, the original bear

Paddington, the original bear  as depicted in the Paddington Bear books. Designed by Paddington Bear author Michael Bond. Picture taken in a totally empty Paddington Station on Xmas Day. (No. 7.) Its  a fair distance from the canal as one walks although the canal is actually very near this point.

In keeping with the waterways theme, this point was at one time where the Kilburn/Westbourne River once flowed (see notes below.) It’s valley was taken over for the construction of Paddington Station and the river diverted to the west.

A bit further away from Paddington station and indeed the canal’s environs are these three bears…

Paddingtonscape

Paddingtonscape

Paddingtonscape designed by Hannah Warren in Norfolk Square, quite near Paddington Station. (No. 8)

Ironically Norfolk Square WAS once part of the canal! Two reservoirs built by the Grand Junction Canal Company stood either side of Praed Street, W2, and these were for supply of water to this part of London. The southern reservoir was sited here, and after its closure Norfolk Square was built.

Paws Engage

Paws Engage

This one, Paws Engage, is the most distant of Paddington’s Paddington Bears. It’s just inside Kensington Gardens opposite Lancaster gate tube station, just a few minutes walk from Paddington Station. Designed by Canterbury of New Zealand. (No. 10 in series.)

Despite this bear apparently NOT being on any notable waterway, the illusion does not end there. This location was indeed where one of London’s more important waterways, the Kilburn, or Westbourne, River could be found. In fact the Long Water/The Serpentine are the remnant of that waterway.

The Kilburn/Westbourne (also known as the Bayswater Rivulet) soon met the fate of most of London’s rivers and it became known as the Ranelagh Sewer. Its waters still flow through Hyde Park, albeit on a different route from Lancaster Gate under Bayswater Road as far eastwards as roughly the point where the Titchbourne flowed into Hyde Park. It then traverses straight across the park to meet its original route at the eastern extremity of the Serpentine, and acts as an overflow for the Serpentine.

Keen spotters will note part of an original bridge, that once crossed the Kilburn/Westbourne River, still exists in the adjacent Italian Gardens. Its practically the only bridge left from the days when London had many tributaries off the Thames. Its an old structure and one that’s strangely never been listed or viewed as having any historic importance of any sort.