Thames Barrier Park

Thames Barrier Park
Thames Barrier Park

Video: Thames Barrier Park

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Video: London in Lockdown | Thames Barrier Park Walk | 21 April 2020 2023, February
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Thames barrier park
Thames barrier park

Thames barrier park

Thames Barrier Park is an unusual London park, which is located far from the city center, it will take about 40 minutes to get to it by underground. The Pontoon Dock station, where it is located, is part of the light metro, located not underground, but on the surface. This line takes us to the outskirts of London, to the simple and poor Silvertown quarter of Newham, and from the windows of the station we immediately have an impressive view.

Thames Barrier Park. View from the subway window
Thames Barrier Park. View from the subway window

Thames Barrier Park. View from the subway window

This park on the north side of the Thames was built on the site of the old harbor docks. They were of great importance in the Victorian era, ships of the East India and other companies of that time arrived here. At the end of the last century, there was an industrial area here, which turned out to be heavily polluted by emissions from a chemical plant. It was reclaimed for a long time, and in 1995 an international competition was announced for the best project of a public park. It was won by the English architect Patel Taylor, who, together with his French colleagues, started organizing the park. Renowned landscape designers Alain Cousseran and Alain Provost were responsible for the landscaping. In January 1998, the Lord Mayor of London, Richard Nichols, planted the first tree, and already in 2000, the 14-hectare park was inaugurated.

Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden
Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden

Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden

It is very different from the central landscape parks of London. It is dominated by modern lines and forms, innovative design approaches. Going down from the metro station, we pass along the main axis of the park. On the left, there are lawns, first of the green theater, where you can watch the performances on the stage, sitting right on the lawn, then playgrounds for mini-football and basketball, and a playground.

Thames Barrier Park. Green theater
Thames Barrier Park. Green theater

Thames Barrier Park. Green theater

Thames Barrier Park. Basketball playground
Thames Barrier Park. Basketball playground

Thames Barrier Park. Basketball playground

And on the right is the main attraction of the park - the Sunken Garden, created in a dry dock. It begins with the Square of Fountains, which we were not lucky enough to see working that day. Further waves of sheared bushes rise, interrupted by free plantings of perennials. You can go down and take a closer look at the vegetation.

Thames Barrier Park. Fountain Square
Thames Barrier Park. Fountain Square

Thames Barrier Park. Fountain Square

Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden
Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden

Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden

In the sunken garden, the designers have found the perfect balance between the past and the present. On the one hand, there is an abundance of topiary forms, fashionable in the Victorian era, as a kind of tribute to the old times, on the other, their more intimate embodiment, without the geometric regularity inherent in that time.

Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden
Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden

Thames Barrier Park. Sunken garden

Waves of sheared yews, Japanese spindle tree, privet, separated by paths, are interrupted by huge bushes of fragrant rosemary. Their azure flowers (this is the end of May), like the stripes of blooming catnip and Veronica of Austria, create the illusion of the blue of the water.

Thames Barrier Park. Rosemary
Thames Barrier Park. Rosemary

Thames Barrier Park. Rosemary

Thames Barrier Park. Veronica of Austria
Thames Barrier Park. Veronica of Austria

Thames Barrier Park. Veronica of Austria

Plots of cereals, onions, mountain goats, uneven contours of plantings of various geraniums, sunflowers, poppies, irises, katrana give the already modern sound of the English garden. The walls on the sides are covered with vines in places, like in the old English walled gardens.

Thames Barrier Park. Bright spots of purple-leaved scumpia and geranium
Thames Barrier Park. Bright spots of purple-leaved scumpia and geranium

Thames Barrier Park. Bright spots of purple-leaved scumpia and geranium

The architectural design of concrete and wood adheres to minimalistic forms - flat rectangles of white benches, simple metal fences. Nothing from good old England.

Thames Barrier Park. Benches of simple shapes
Thames Barrier Park. Benches of simple shapes

Thames Barrier Park. Benches of simple shapes

We leave the sunken garden on the bank of the Thames along a smooth slope. The embankment is covered with wooden paving, resembling the deck of a giant ship. Here is the indoor Memory Pavilion. It features a stone wave memorial dedicated to Newham's nameless English soldiers who died in World War I.

Thames Barrier Park. Exit to the Thames
Thames Barrier Park. Exit to the Thames

Thames Barrier Park. Exit to the Thames

Thames Barrier Park. Memory pavilion
Thames Barrier Park. Memory pavilion

Thames Barrier Park. Memory pavilion

From here you can clearly see what, in fact, is called Thames Barrier. This original "space" structure has an important function of protecting London from flooding. In strong tides, it restrains the onslaught of water, and when it is lacking, it replenishes the Thames. You can see how the "gateways" are arranged only on the diagram; you cannot come closer.

Thames barrier
Thames barrier

Thames barrier

Thames barrier
Thames barrier

Thames barrier

We return from the park along another axis, surrounded by cubes of sheared hornbeams. The play of green and yellow looks great in this long curly hedge. The slope on the right separates us from the residential area. It is planted with traditional plants of the English garden - acanthus, mordovniki, katrana, violets. On the left, the flat surface is adorned with yellow-variegated foliage by a large array of Fortchun euonymus. The trees in the park are dominated by birches, lindens and pines, large Mahonia in blue fruits.

Thames Barrier Park. Fortune's eonymus
Thames Barrier Park. Fortune's eonymus

Thames Barrier Park. Fortune's eonymus

Thames Barrier Park. Hornbeam cubes
Thames Barrier Park. Hornbeam cubes

Thames Barrier Park. Hornbeam cubes

On the other side of the Sunken Garden, from behind the greenery of trees, a house rises several stories high, reminiscent of a huge white motor ship with spacious balconies-decks. Most likely, it is part of the architect's plan and was built recently. On the other side is another, smaller territory of the park of triangular contours, which can be accessed through a diagonal bridge stretching across the Sunken Garden. She maintains the style of the first half of the park, which we have already examined.

Thames Barrier Park. House-ship
Thames Barrier Park. House-ship

Thames Barrier Park. House-ship

On a weekday evening, the park was almost empty. Only rare couples of lovers, residents of local houses walking their dogs, or joggers broke the silence. And also - a bird perched on top of the hedge, escorting us with its flooded trill …

Thames barrier park
Thames barrier park

Thames barrier park

Photo: Rita Brilliantova, Nina Starostenko

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