Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Olympics 2012!

The Studio where Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was filmed

I am not a sports fan.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but I did not even know that The Olympic Stadium was in construction and hadn’t been used yet until we headed off for the tour. I know that on our classroom blackboard site there is a link that we could open up and read to inform ourselves before the tour.  I opened it I’m sure, I just couldn’t get beyond my “not caring block” enough to actually absorb any info.   I also did not know how much I would love going to see the Olympic Park site in the East End, just a stone’s throw from Central London.

When we got to the Bromley by Bow tube station, our guide Shawn was waiting for us.  He immediately took us from the noisy station to a quiet industrial area.  The mill we were looking at, The House Mill, was built in 1776 and is very picturesque - not what you would expect for industrial blight.  London has recognized this and has given the buildings Grade 1 status; “Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest” (heritage).  There is a television/movie studio on the location and the River Lea which runs by it has been emptied of enough toxic muck and trash to fill The Albert Hall sixteen times.

We began our trip at that location so that Shawn could show us what is happening to the area because of The Olympics.  There is a lot of state subsidized housing and the hope is that the building of the Park will employ some local residents and help turn their lives around.  The two-story row houses have already gotten new roofs and many of the owners have renovated their kitchens and bathrooms before reletting the homes.  Parks are being landscaped with recreational items added to increase their use.  We especially enjoyed the stone ping pong tables and if I lived in the area I would be sure to buy some paddles and little orange balls.  There were also a cluster of canal boats waiting for a jaunt through the locks.

Three Mills Borough is obviously well on it’s way toward rejuvenation.  There were cranes and new construction everywhere.  Of course, if there are any residents of the area who are unable to take advantage of the financial and skill opportunities offered by the park, they will soon be priced out of the area as their taxes skyrocket.  This reflection was not offered by our Blue Guide, it’s just something I started thinking about.

This Olympic Park project is simply awesome.  I was impressed with the herculean efforts London is making to keep the project sustainably green and to use it to boost the local economy by using local labor and products.  I will be keeping this in mind as I sit glued to my television set in 2012, watching the events.  Perhaps this is the impetus to enable me to join the sporting world.  Or perhaps I will be watching the Olympics with the desperate hope that I will catch a glimpse of 3Mills Studio, the tree that the Queen planted, or the beautiful raised box garden next to the bright green café that overlooks the stadium.

From http://www.heritage.co.uk/apavilions/glstb.html

Cassie and Beth take advantage of the recreational facilities

This building will not be standing by Olympics 2012.  Take a good look because it will be GONE!


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