The former entrance to the Grand Surrey Canal. The very tall building, known as Eddystone Tower which stands along the canal’s alignment at the Pepys Estate in Deptford can be seen above the rooftops. Directly beneath it amidst the fencing stands the Canal Office.

By the former canal entrance is this machinery which was formerly used to operate the canal’s lockgates.

Historic GSC building trashed for development that never was:

In 2008 this new development was underway. Unfortunately the canal office was demolished. This is a view looking directly down the former canal alignment. Part of the Eddystone Tower can be glimpsed in the far distance.

In April 2011 this shows a view of the same development that quashed the existence of the former canal office. Clearly this development has been abandoned. Just out of sight behind the fencing the old information board about the canal office still stands – a homage to nothing in particular nowadays.

It is absolutely clear that many of these re-developments around London’s waterways destroy the character and fabric of our precious few city water spaces.

Let’s take a prime example on London’s surviving waterways. Merchant Square, a trashy and utterly soul-less development in Paddington is one excellent example, a sickening modernist development that is NOT in any way modern, utterly retrograde with a name no-one wants to use – apart from the developers themselves! It has no historic elements despite promises it would and it doesn’t in any way or form reflect any element of canal history.

Most of Surrey Quays (a pretentious, crappy name in an attempt to shake off the name ‘docks’ as if the old name was something to be embarrassed about…) is without a doubt another. It is high time the pioneers/instigators/financial backers of these mass re-developments left things alone because NOT ONE of them have any proper understanding of water space and waterways history or their unique character even.

Homage to a non-existent canal office – bring back the damn building that stood here!

The site of the lock where the new Plough Way now stands. The canal office can just be seen. These were taken while the canal office still stood (not for much longer though…)

The new Plough Lane crosses the former course of the canal. The road leading off to the right is the stump of the OLD Plough Lane.

The picture below which is from a 1954 film called ‘Together’ has a perspective that is just a little bit to the west of the above photograph.

View of Plough Lane bridge from a dredger as seen in the 1954 film ‘Together’. This is a comparable view with the previous one, the perspective being slightly to the west, and it is hard to believe that such drastic change has occurred.

View looking in the opposite direction. The entrance lock can be seen as can the canal office to the left. Source: Twitter.

The other end of the OLD Plough Lane existed behind this wall. It took a sharp right hand turn at this point and climbed an incline that took it across the Grand Surrey Canal below the lock. The Eddystone Tower provides a constant reference to the siting of the roads and canal alignment (see below.)

The same view today – modern flats on the former alignment of the old Plough Lane. The Eddystone tower block in the distance is in the same location in both shots.

The OLD Plough Lane BEFORE the flats! The road turned left just past this point to cross the Grand Surrey Canal. The Eddystone tower can be seen.

The new development has obliterated most of the old Plough Lane. Fortunately the old boundary wall is left intact at the far end where Plough Lane turned eastwards towards the canal.

Next: Plough Lane – Evelyn Street

Grand Surrey Canal pages:

Intro – A canal route from London to Portsmouth!
Old Surrey Docks route – The old canal route through the Surrey Docks
Greenland Dock – Plough Lane – The canal’s route to Plough Lane
Plough Lane – Evelyn Street – The canal’s route southward to Evelyn Street
Evelyn Street – Surrey Canal Road – The canal’s route west to Surrey Canal Road
Ilderton Road – Camberwell – The canal’s route to the terminus at Camberwell
Canal junctions & place names – Junctions and places named after the canal
Bridges & buildings – The canal’s structures
Peckham branch & canal wharves – The delightful branch and wharves of the canal