It’s the autumn, and this month’s Boating Bulletin brings you news of winter moorings, the mooring strategy and more improvements to boater facilities in London. We’re also switching to publication at the beginning of every month to bring you all the news about forthcoming events and to look back on the previous month’s activity. Sadly, we therefore have no September issue, but here’s to October!
The London Waterway team holds an open forum twice a year to share information about our work and hear feedback from the wide range of people who use and love the waterways.
Over recent years we’ve held one forum in the autumn and one in the spring, both in central London. After feedback at recent forums, this season we’re heading out to the west and the east so that communities who haven’t had a chance to meet us can attend more easily. These will be held on:
Get your tickets here:
The Forums will be a mixture of a drop-in event to meet the team and view the exhibition about the draft London Mooring Strategy, followed by presentations and discussions about our work. The timings for each event will be:
We look forward to seeing you!
The London mooring strategy aims to find a way to address and manage the challenging issues associated with increasing boat numbers in London. We’ll soon be publishing a draft strategy document for your feedback, with an online survey, an exhibition at the London Waterway Forums (18 October and 2 November) and pop up exhibtions in other parts of the London waterway where you’ll be able to discuss the proposals and provide your feedback. Watch this space and the London Mooring Strategy pages on our website London Mooring strategy for more information.
Congratulations to our first ever Boats in Bloom winners! The Boats in Bloom awards were launched in May to celebrate green-fingered boaters and waterside gardeners. We’ve been presenting colourful certificates to anyone whose boat or waterside planting is putting a smile on the face of passers-by, to say thank you to the many people who bring the waterways to life with plants and flowers.
There were also a number of special prize categories for which people could be nominated. These were published on our website and boaters and waterway and gardening-lovers voted for their favourites. Here are all our blooming marvellous Boats in Bloom 2017 winners, second and third place runners up for each category: Boats in Bloom winners .
The Meanwhile Hydrosiren is a floating, acoustic sculptural boat inspired by the setting of Meanwhile Gardens on the Paddington Arm in Westbourne Park, and the theme of canal-side gardens. The objective of the commission is to highlight our vital ecological and conservation work.
Created by artist Professor Simeon Nelson, from the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire, the boat will play a soundscape by composer Rob Godman drawn from conversations with inhabitants of the gardens, canal and the local community. The work has been curated by Modus Operandi with funding provided by an external donor. Over ten metres in length and carved in the shape of an acanthus lily motif to reflect the local flora, the boat will make its inaugural voyage along the Grand Union Canal on Saturday 14 October, leaving Little Venice at 3pm. Further performances are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons at Meanwhile Gardens until 28 October. For Saturday afternoon performances, soprano Elizabeth Karani will be singing live, weaving her voice into the Hydrosiren soundscape.
The music for Meanwhile Hydrosiren comes from the sounds of the local community, blending the different voices, languages, and music of local people with the sounds of the aquatic life within the canal and the insect and animal life within the gardens. ‘Sound mirrors’ on board the boat will also collect and emit new sounds during the boat’s journey.
For further details about the boat, see: Hydrosiren construction
The boat will be launched on 14 October 2017, departing Little Venice in Paddington at 3pm, and will be punted to Meanwhile Gardens in Westbourne Park.
Thereafter there will be performances at the following set times at Meanwhile Gardens:
If you’re looking to moor up somewhere for an extended period to avoid being stuck on the wrong side of our winter works, we’ve published the list of sites on offer for winter moorings over the 2017-18 winter.
There are a selection of sites near facilities, as well as quieter spots if you want a bit more peace and quiet. Winter moorings will be available for up to 4.5 months from 1 November 2017 to 16 March 2018, finishing ahead of the Easter holidays and the start of the summer cruising season.
Bookings for the winter moorings opened at 6am on Monday 2 October and will be made through our boat licensing site. If you have any questions about winter moorings please call customer services on 0303 040 4040 or email us at email@example.com
Bookings at Rembrandt Gardens in Little Venice have come thick and fast this year. We still have some space available in October, more space available at the moment in November and plenty of space in December. There are two berths available so why not come and visit central London for your Christmas shopping? You can book online at Pre booked visitor moorings and click on the web licensing system link (showing in blue) towards the bottom of the page.
In the London Waterway team we’re constantly looking at ways of improving the level and quality of facilities available for boaters. One way is negotiating with landowners and developers when sites alongside the canal are developed, or requiring the provision of boater facilities where our land is being developed.
If you’re on the lower Grand Union Canal you’ll now be able to use the boater facilities at Norwood Top Lock on the Hanwell Flight, as we have now taken possession of the facilities that we have negotiated as part of the new housing development there. This means that in addition to the existing refuse disposal compound on the towpath side by the lock, a new Elsan and water point is also available for all boaters to use, free of charge, on the offside next to the existing long-term mooring. New signage is coming soon, but in the meantime look out for a blue portaloo style building!
A new secure bin compound with two boater bins has also been installed at Limehouse Basin, following our discussions with marina operator BWML Ltd. These facilities were being misused and fly-tipped as they were on an open site next to Limehouse Lock. They are now securely fenced in, with a dedicated section accessed by boaters’ key available for all passing boaters, comprising two 1100 litre refuse bins.
We’re also working hard on improvements to the sanitary station at Old Ford Lock on the Lee, so that we can provide a more reliable service for boaters. As the inside of the building has often been vandalised, putting the toilets and elsan unit out of use, we are re-configuring the building so that these can be accessed directly from secure external doors. The inside of the building will then be a secure storage area for our volunteer lock keepers.
If you notice any problems with any of our facilities, do let us know as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Customer Services on 0303 040 4040.
The recent London Open House weekend saw three of our treasured heritage buildings open up to the public, providing a glimpse into the history of our London waterways. Brentford Toll House Museum, Three Mills in Bow, and the Impounding station in Docklands saw hundreds of visitors. Maybe you were among them? If not, here’s a fascinating blog from someone who did! A London Inheritance
Bow Free Wharf on the River Lee Navigation, just south of the Bow Flyover, is one of the few remaining working wharves where transfers of goods can take place between water to road. The site has road access from the A12 and is available free of charge for the loading and unloading of boats. Due to issues with unauthorised parking blocking access for works vehicles and preventing customers getting deliveries, we have installed a secure access gate across the entrance to the site. If you require access in order to load or unload a boat, please contact email@example.com and we will arrange for access to be provided. Please remember that this wharf is only for loading and unloading, so please do not moor here and help us to keep this valuable facility available for everyone.
A reminder that passage through Thames Lock needs to be pre-booked. We have produced a 2017 timetable that sets out availability of the lock. To book the lock, call 0303 040 4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any bookings must be made with us at least 24 hours in advance. Please note that our team works 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If you are interested in booking passage through Carpenters Road Lock in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park please contact email@example.com or give us a call on 03030 404040. We are in the final stages of commissioning and testing an online booking system which will make the process straightforward. We will let you know when ready and include a link in the November bulletin.
Did you know that we also look after the amazing spaces that are the Docks on the Isle of Dogs, surrounded by the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf? During the week commencing 18 September, we said farewell to ten beautiful Thames barges which had spent the weekend with us at West India Dock, opposite the O2 (formerly Millennium Dome). We were also pleased to welcome a number of boating visitors, including motor yachts Kismet and Justa Delia, Stavros S Niarchos (a British brig-rigged tall ship owned and operated by the Tall Ships Youth Trust), Oasis (the water barge), Massey Shaw (former London Fire Brigade fireboat), and Portway (tug boat).
There are two marinas (Poplar and Blackwall) which are accessible through West India Dock, and Millwall Inner and Millwall Outer also have moorings. There are many bars and cafes at waterside around the Dock and, for those who wish to visit other parts of London or come to see the Docklands area, the Jubilee Line (underground) and DLR (Docklands Light Railway) run close by.
We have special Marine Control and Dockside Operations teams who meet, greet and service the needs of our visitors to West India Dock, and the Customer Support team (‘Enquiries London’) is also based right alongside the Dock and looks forward to welcoming you for the sale of pump out and laundry cards and boater keys. We have lots of useful information about the London Waterways and hope to be of assistance to you soon.
Sorwar Ahmed is Waterway Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust in London. He’s engaging communities and developing social enterprises to improve the waterways for everyone! Every month he gives a round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in London’s canals.See more blogs from this author