To VICTORIA PARK: Walking or Cycling alongside the REGENT’S CANAL and MILE END PARK


In the map, I have pointed out the RAGGED SCHOOL MUSEUM, 10 min. away from the LIMEHOUSE BASIN 

Barges, living quarters

All the canals within GREATER LONDON.

The course of the REGENT’S CANAL

Suggested routes

The first of the BARNARDO’s HOMES, in STEPNEY


Note the build-up terraces  where the park is nowadays.

On the other side of the canal, the STEPNEY GAS WORKS have given place to a contemporary residential development. But some fragments of the GASHOLDERS columns have been preserved

The REGENT’S CANAL enters the Northeastern corner of the 
LIMEHOUSE BASIN, after a course of  8.6 miles that starts at MAIDA VALE, where it linked with another canal, build  a few years before, the GRAND JUNCTION CANAL, PADDINGTON ARM, which runs from BRENTFORD, on the shores of the river THAMES to  PADDINGTON. In BRENTFORD, the GRAND JUNCTION connects with the GRAND UNION, which is going to take you to BIRMINGHAM.


When the canal was build PADDINGTON was a little village and, of course, the famous STATION, and BRUNEL’s GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY, did not exist.


You can walk and cycle along all its towpath (as you can along most of the canal towpaths of England) and, if you  walk the whole course, you are circumventing c.18 built-up London. Navvies (the builders, mostly from Ireland; the curious name derives from “navigators”) dug the canal, manually, through the fields around pre-Victorian London.

Both canals meet at LITTLE VENICE (MAIDA VALE, CITY OF WESTMINSTER) a basin that allowed barges to manoeuvre.

This guide shows only a small fraction of the canal, only up to VICTORIA PARK, as we are dealing only with the EAST END.

Leaving the LIMEHOUSE BASIN, under STEPHENSON’S VIADUCT, still on service and beside the accumulator towers (one of the oldest in the world, but not anymore in use), you will pass the SALMON LANE LOCK and LOCK-KEEPERS cottage.

After a few minutes you will realise that you are walking beside the MILE END PARK.

Note the café opening on the former warehouse. Through it, in fact, you will be entering the RAGGED SCHOOL MUSEUM, dedicated to the area and to the charity schools that sprang up in London, thanks to the initiative well meaning philanthropists, like LORD SHAFTESBURY (who became president of the London Union, and was honoured with the erection of the famous STATUE sited in PICCADILLY CIRCUS). THOMAS BARNARDO was a young Irishman who came to London to train as a doctor, but who, when he realised  of the deprivation in which the children  of the working classes lived, and the amount of children living in the streets, dedicated his life to create schools (the first one, in 1867) and  homes (the first, in STEPNEY, in 1870) for them. And he never became  a medical doctor. 
Definitely, the name RAGGED SCHOOL matched the reality of the clothing of the poor of London.

As this route along the canal is parallel to the paths .inside MILE EN PARK you can choose which path you take. The MUSEUM can be entered alongside COPPERFIELD ROAD (a very appropriate name; did DICKENS and BARNARDO ever meet?).

This park, like so many in the former industrial neighbourhoods  of London, has not existed for very long. It is only 40 years old, in its current extension. All this area was covered by houses and factories, shops and pubs, which were, for the most part, totally or partially destroyed during the BLITZ. The situation in which London emerged after WW2 and the plans of the administration to  crate a new parks matched perfectly.


Opposite the entrance of the museum, note the sporting fields and venues of the  LEISURE CENTRE.

But that small piece of park, in front of you, is a special one. It is called KING GEORGE’S FIELD, and it was already established in 1936, and named in homage of KING GEORGE V. This initiative was carried out by a foundation who created dozens of these parks in Britain, 22 of them in London.

By the way, you are advised that MILE END, VICTORIA and OLYMPIC are three fantastic green spaces to be enjoyed in succession, on foot or by bike.

Buses to/from the crossroads MILE END, BURDETT ROAD, GROVE ROAD

On the map, MILE END LU station

MILE END PARK can only be seriously split by a main road, as MILE END ROAD. But, believe you me,  the park continues uninterrupted with help of the GREEN BRIDGE.  Issued from de CZWG architects’ practice (GOUGH is the G), it seems unique to me.  Below the bridge there are cafes, restaurants and a CO-OP supermarket.

MILE END LU (CENTRAL, DISTRICT, HAMMERSMITH & CITY LINES) station 200 m. away. Buses are on hand for you, on MILE END, GROVE and BURDETT ROADS, going in all directions.


A church spire is visible from the bridge: the GUARDIAN ANGELS church was funded the DUKE OF NORFOLK, a member of an eminent ENGLISH CATHOLIC family that holds the hereditary position of  EARL MARSHAL, in charge of planning and organising  royal coronations and funerals.


Now that you are here, why do not walking down to the road and, after having visited the church you enter the campus of QUEEN'S MARY’S - UNIVERSITY OF LONDON, where you will encounter 
the LOCK, and the LOCK-KEEPER’S COTTAGE, where old meets new, by the canal, and then, between modern buildings, the NOVO CEMETERY (yes, novo, in Portuguese), a JEWISH SEPHARDIC CEMETERY. It is only a part of the original one and the reason it is here is because it was allocated to that <<<<community admitted to the country by CROMWELL, in the c17, and who was mostly established on the Eastern part of the CITY OF LONDON.

More to the West of the campus, you will come across the STATUE of CLEMENT ATTLEE, local MP, who became Prime Minister in 1945, succeeding CHURCHILL, to whom he had served as a Deputy during the war, but to whom shockingly defeated in the 1945 election).


On the more Western side of the campus is the QUEEN’S BUILDING, on the site of THE PEOPLE'S PALACE, which was the first building and institution to be established here, for the education and the entertainment of Eastenders. The historical heart of QUEEN MARY’S. The architect, ROBSON, conceived the characteristic school buildings, all over London, for SCHOOL BOARD FOR LONDON.

Opposite, the QUEEN’S CLOCK TOWER, dedicated to BARON STEER, a philanthropist banker of Jewish extraction, made a BARON by the Portuguese state, which received huge credits from him.

The artist ERIC GILL produced the reliefs which you can admire on the more modern PEOPLE’S PALACE, a large theatre and entertainment venue


The VELHO CEMETERY  and the ASHKENAZI one are nearby, but normally not open to the public.


If you leave now the university campus and walk along  BANCROFT ROAD, you will find the firmer  MILE END OLD TOWN VESTRY HALL, now LOCAL HISTORY LIBRARY and archive of TOWER HAMLETS. You might find an exhibitions going on. And they sell some local history publications.

Next to the LIBRARY, the MILE END HOSPITAL (not anymore a general hospital) is still housed in some of the original buildings of the WORKHOUSE. The WORKHOUSE was the awful place where the very poor of the locality were housed, and where they were fed and given some menial jobs. When  they were abolished, the buildings became infirmaries. Then, renamed hospitals, with the advent of the N.H.S. 

Some of the Victorian streets around the area (MILE END OLD TOWN) ) are pretty well preserved.

Leaving the University behind, and along MILE END RD. you will find the ALBERT STERN HOUSE, the former BETH HOLIM, or JEWISH hospital and asylum, now a students residence.
And afterwards, do not miss MILE END PLACE, a charming cup-de-sac, lined with houses. The wall at the end is that of the Ashkenazi Cemetery.


If you continue West along the MILE END ROAD you will reach the former  site of the HALF MOON THEATRE, which we have seen <<<<LIMEHOUSE, which now is a pub belonging to WETHERSPOON, called… THE HALF MOON. However, note that for a century the  old part of this building had been a WELSH METHODIST CHURCH.
The STEPNEY GREEN LU station is 200 m. away, and, along the road  bus routes  25 and 205. Along GLOBE RD. bus 309, takes you to VICTORIA PARK, or to POPLAR and CANNING TOWN.

And I remind you that, here, you are two steps from the <<<<STEPNEY walk.




Again on the REGENT’S CANAL  or MILE END PARK after the  GREEN BRIDGE 

The ART PAVILION, on the map

If you follow the canal, note that by it the former NEW GLOBE pub, is now THE CHERRY. According to historians that NEW GLOBE might have succeeded a CHERRY TREE pub around 1807.

Now you only have to go down and straight, Northwards, after the green bridge, if you are inside the park, and you will notice  a couple of terraces of houses that survived WW2. As well, the ART PAVILION, the TERRACE GARDENS and the lake.  You can divert from this route now, heading for <<<<TREDEGAR SQUARE and BOW.

Then, the climbing wall and the pedestrian bridge that takes you to MEATH GARDENS, on the way to BETHNAL GREEN.
METH GARDENS were the VICTORIA PARK CEMETERY. A famous Aboriginal Australian  cricketer, who died while the team was on tour, was buried here. 

If you decide to continue towards BETHNAL GREEN do not miss the DENYS LASDUN bloc of apartments, KEELING HOUSE, and EASTBOURNE HOUSE, an old settlement.

Meanwhile, the artworks that you see by the canal, representing historical figures related to the area. (footballer LEDLEY KING, the SYLVIA PANKHURST, and the DONKEYS that used to walk the towpath pulling the heavy loaded barges) are made of laser cut steel.

The plight of donkeys and horses along the canals of England was a hard one. When they fell ill, they were treated in HORSE HOSPITALS like the one you can see inside the CAMDEN TOWN’S STABLES MARKET, now a bar.

What an about the plight of the men and women, sometimes entire families , who used to travel alongside the canals transporting goods. Live was hard for them. Attending school was unthinkable for their children, who were cheap helping hands.

You have seen many barges already. More and more people (especially young) have decided to live in the canals, as housing has become so expensive in London. Live is more comfortable nowadays in the barges. And CANAL & RIVER TRUST takes care of you.



Maybe you want to stop at THE PALM TREE pub. Again, an isolated building indicates you that the rest of the row was lost to the war.
After the pub, the ECOLOGY PAVILION and another lake. By the canal, before the tunnel under the ROMAN ROAD, the FISH TAIL sculpture.

Remember that you are very close BOW (on your right) and to BETHNAL GREEN (left). Buses are at hand.


Now you are really close to VICTORIA PARK.

First, you will encounter a little former industrial hub that you can enter at the end of the MILE END PARK, or if you are along the canal, after the bridge that crosses another canal —the HERTFORD UNION, which allows you to reach the OLYMPIC PARK>>>> in 20min., as well as <<<<FISH ISLAND and <<<<HACKNEY  WICK.

Once you are in BOW’S WHARF, you are have a choice of tea and cakes, in the BLUE IVY; gin or other spirits at the EAST LONDON LIQUOR COMPANY, a Mexican or a Thai restaurant, and if you have problems on your bike, a repair shop is here to help you.

You have buses on the GROVE ROAD. SCDS at the Eastern of CHISENHALE ROAD, after passing by the CHISENHALE ART GALLERY. Note the place on the wall: during the war, here, were produced parts of the SPITFIRES and the MOSQUITOES.


After the OLD FORD ROAD  (CRICKETERS)  bridge and the LOCK, COTTAGE and STABLES, you are going to find a small entrance to VICTORIA PARK. If you turn left, you are not far from the Chinese PAGODA, and the BONNER GATES (Sundays Farmers’ Market). If you turn right, you will pass the BIRD and SKYSCRAPER sculptures of ËRNO BARTHA, and you could be having a coffee within 5 min. in the PAVILION.



You are going to find these covers and these notices in all London canals. Effectively, power cables run under the towpath, and, as well, pumped water, in order to cool them down. A happy consequence: you will never find a towpath frozen!


And up to here the walk or cycle from LIMEHOUSE to VICTORIA PARK alongside the REGENT’S CANAL and MILE END PARK