Regent’s Canal at Bethnal Green

Above: Looking towards Old Ford Lock, the scene is quite rural.

The Bethnal Green section of the Regent’s Canal follows on from the previous section to the west which is Shoreditch. The route of the canal through what was once Bethnal Green (now part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets) still has a ‘country look’ about it which was probably how it looked when it first opened. Until the 1960s it was a working canal, with many factories, storage yards and the occasional gas-works situated beside it. Most of the industrial sites have closed and been replaced by housing estates. The coal which was conveyed by canal to gas-works is no longer required because gas is now supplied from off-shore sources.

Above: Map showing the Regent’s Canal’s route through Bethnal Green.

The Regent’s Canal runs past Victoria Park, which is on its north side. The industrial sites that were immediately beside the canal have been landscaped and turned into a linear park – which is the northern end of Mile End Park. There are two locks along this stretch – Old Ford Lock (8), which is a short distance north of Old Ford Road, and Mile End Lock (9), which is just north of Mile End Road.

Above: Looking south at Mile End Lock with Canary Wharf Tower in the background.

To the south of Old Ford Road, the Regent’s Canal is joined onto the Hertford Union Canal, which opened in 1830. The Hertford Union forms the southern boundary for Victoria Park.

The line of the Regent’s Canal continues south into what was once the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney before reaching the Thames.


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