There are many elements of the Park that have been named. This page explains a little of the back-history behind some of those names.
If you have any suggestions for additions to this page, please do drop me a line.
There are many names on the Park that are geographical (Essex Way, Middlesex Way, South Lawn, Northwall Road etc.) and many that commemorate old industries in the area (Millers Row, Coopers Lane, Weavers Row and Potters Row in Chobham Manor and Drapers Field just outside the North East of the Park). Also, there are names connected with general aspects of a sport (Peloton Avenue, Madison Way, Keirin Road and Derny Avenue by the Velodrome, for example). I don't intend to cover these in detail, beyond mentioning them here.
Individual entries have links marked by a symbol. Clicking on this will show the location on a map. As usual, click on any image to see a larger version of it.
|Alfred's Meadow / Dane's Walk
Alfred's Meadow in front of the Velodrome
Alfred's Meadow is named after King Alfred the Great and Dane's Walk after his opponents.
Early in the winter of 894 the Danes of Mersea rowed their ships up the Thames and the Lee, and in the following year built a fortress twenty miles above London.
The English attacked but were put to flight with loss of life. In the autumn Alfred camped nearby to safeguard the corn harvest and deny it to the Danes. It was then he conceived the idea of obstructing the Lee so preventing the Danes from retreating because their boats were grounded.
Alfred started to build two forts either side of the river but before he had progressed far the Danes sent their women to safety in East Anglia, abandoned their stronghold and ships and marched overland to Bridgenorth.
The River Lee at the point of Alfred's Meadow briefly formed a boundary between Alfred's England to the West and Viking Danelaw to the East. These days, it forms the rather less glamorous border between Hackney and Newham.
Buildings around Chobham Academy
Gathered around Chobham Academy are a collection of buildings named after bright stars and constellations, presumably reflecting the academic aspirations of the academy students:
- Tucana Heights: Tucana is a constellation of stars in the Southern sky named after a toucan.
- Carina House: Carina is a constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for the hull or keel of a ship.
- Mimosa House: Named not after the yellow-flowered tree that can be found elsewhere in the Park, but after the bright star forming part of the Southern Cross constellation.
- Mira House: Named after the Mira class of very red pulsating stars that will eventually transform into bright nebulae and white dwarf stars.
- Vega House: Vega is the brightest star in the Northern constellation of Lyra.
- Ursa Mansions: Named after Ursa Major, a Northern sky constellation known as the Great Bear or The Plough, and Ursa Minor, known as the Little Dipper, whose tail contains the North Star, Polaris.
- Vesta House: Named after the minor planet in our solar system which is, in turn, named after the Roman god of hearth and home.
- Lunaria House: Not named after the moon, as you might expect, but after a flowering plant called Honesty or Annual Honesty. I've included this here to avoid confusion!
Map from 1834 showing the location of the East London Waterworks Reservoir
Carpenters Road is named after The Worshipful Company of Carpenters who ran a farm on marshland here from 1767.
Originally just linking Stratford High Street to various factories on land now occupied by the London Aquatics Centre and East Bank, it was not extended West into Hackney until the East London Waterworks Reservoir was closed and drained in the 1890s after being suspected of causing several local cholera outbreaks.
In the map to the right, Carpenters Road runs roughly where the much wider modern road run, just to the East of Waterworks River.
The East London Waterworks Reservoir was a storage reservoir. Back in the 1800s, this part of the Bow Back Rivers was all tidal and powered many water mills. This storage reservoir was designed to hold waters at high tide, then release it into the rivers and channels in a controlled way to extend the working day for the mills.
This did, however, mean that a lot of the water within the reservoir was stagnant and it very quickly became polluted and a health hazard, which explains why the reservoir only lasted a couple of decades.
Architect's image of Chobham Manor in its finished state
Chobham Manor has never had a grand Manor House within its borders, and was really only a manor in terms of being an estate of land.
It was formed in 1329–31 by John de Preston who bought several tenements and joined them together. It changed hands multiple times until in 1343 it was bought by Thomas de Chobham who, although he gave his name to the manor, only held it until 1356.
It again frequently changed hands until it was bought in 1782 by Sir John Henniker, later Lord Henniker, and it remained in the Henniker family until 1853 when much of it was bought by the Great Eastern Railway for the extension of their works and sidings.
A man-made ditch which flowed through the estate and drained into the Channelsea River was named Henniker's Ditch. This has now been culverted and in-filled, though it can still be seen mentioned on architects drawings since Abercrombie Road in front of the Velodrome follows the route of the culvert.
Chobham Manor was used as a transport hub and for the temporary basketball & wheelchair rugby arena during the games of 2012.
After the games, the area was redeveloped into one of the new housing communities with the construction of some 850 new homes.
|Clarnico Lane / Clarnico Quay and Sweetwater
Clarnico Lane , Clarnico Quay and Sweetwater are so-named because they sit on or close to the site of the Clarnico confectionary factory, which was the largest sugar confectionary manufacturer in Britain.
Formed here in 1872 as a jam manufacturer and named after its founders (Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs), the Clarnico (an amalgam of their surnames) confectionary subsidiary was created soon after.
By 1881, the company employed over 300 people, a total that grew to over 3,000 by 1911.
The famous Clarnico Mint Cream was first created here in 1912 and despite the original company eventually being bought in turn by Trebor Sharps then Cadbury and finally in 2008 by Tangerine Confectionary, the Mint Creams are still made and still called "Clarnico Mint Creams".
One building from the Clarnico factory remains as part of the Kings Yard energy centre here: This building was built in 1905 and was originally the Clarnico starch works.
Over on the Hackney side of the canal, on Wallis Road, Queens Yard was also built for Clarnico as a factory to produce chocolate.
Note that the name "Clarnico Lane" has only been in use since the Park re-opened after the Games. Prior to the Park development, it formed the southern end of Waterden Road.
Development of the Sweetwater area into one of the new communities in the Park, containing a mixture of 650 homes and apartments, has just started at the time of writing (late 2019).
London 1908 Olympic Games
DeCoubertin Street is named after Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, who was born into French aristocracy in Paris in 1863. He became an academic in several fields of study, particularly education and history. He graduated with a degree in law and public affairs.
Having a keen interest in the role of sports in education, he visited Rugby School in 1883 to study the techniques of Thomas Arnold. Around this time, he also visited William Penny Brookes to see for himself the games that Brookes had founded.
From these seeds, Coubertin developed the idea of a revival of the Greek Olympic Games as an international competition to be held every four years. He founded the International Olympic Committee which, in 1894, met for the first time with two objectives - the creation of the first Olympic Games in Greece and to formally define amateurism (one of Coubertin's great passions) that would govern participation in the games.
The first few games were shaky affairs. The Greek economy could barely support the 1896 competition and the football tournament was cancelled during the games because nobody else turned up. The 1900 Paris and 1904 St. Louis games were mere offshoots of World Fairs held in those cities and barely got noticed.
It was not until the 1908 London games (originally scheduled to be held in Rome, but the 1906 Vesuvius eruption required funds allocated to those games to be diverted to help) that the momentum for a continuing series of competitions really took hold.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Elis Way is named after the region of Greece on the Peloponnesian Peninsular which contained the Olympia Sanctuary where the ancient Olympic Games were held.
Eton Manor in 2012 ready for the Paralympic wheelchair tennis competition
Eton Manor takes its name from Eton College, which from the 1880s had run a "mission" to raise living standards in the East End of London.
In 1909 four Old Etonian philanthropists founded Eton Manor Boys' Club to provide sporting facilities in the Hackney area, purchasing the former Manor Farm in 1913.
In 1920 an old rubbish tip site was converted into the Club's new sports ground, known as The Wilderness. Facilities included nine football pitches, two rugby pitches, cricket pitches, six tennis courts, a bowling green, a squash court and a running track.
Eton Manor Boys' Club closed in 1967 and the Club ground fell into disuse in 2001 before being selected for use during the 2012 Olympic Games.
The charitable trust set up in 1924 to run and support Eton Manor Boys' Club still continues with different aims and a new name, "Villiers Park Educational Trust".
Eton College has a second connection to the 2012 Olympic Games, as the rowing events were held at the College's private facility, Downey Lake.
|Guttmann Square / Sir Ludwig Guttman Health and Well-being Centre
Sir Ludwig Guttmann with Queen Elizabeth, presenting awards at Stoke Mandeville
Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health and Well-being Centre
Guttmann Square and the Sir Ludwig Guttman Health and Well-being Centre are named after Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann CBE FRS (born 3 July 1899, died 18 March 1980), a German-born British neurologist who established the Paralympic Games in England.
The Jewish doctor, who had fled Nazi Germany just before the start of World War II is considered to be one of the founding fathers of organised physical activities for disabled people.
Considered the top neurosurgeon in Germany, upon his arrival in England, he and his family settled in Oxford where he continued his research into spinal injuries at the Radcliffe Infirmary.
In 1943 he was asked by the government to establish the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Guttmann believed that sport was a major method of therapy for injured military personnel helping them build up physical strength and self-respect. In 1948, to coincide with the opening of the London Olympic Games, he organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for Disabled Persons. By 1952, more than 170 international competitors were taking part in the games.
In 1960, Guttmann's efforts were recognised as the first Paralympic Games (then called the "International Stoke Mandeville Games" - the current name was not adopted until 1984) were held in Rome alongside the Olympic Games.
See also Mandeville Place.
|Hopkins' Fields / Hopkins' Oak
Hopkins Fields and Hopkins Oak are named after John Hopkins, a visionary landscape architect who, in 2007, joined the Olympic Delivery Authority from private practice as Project Director for Parklands and Public Realm.
In this role, he led the design effort to transform 200 hectares (500 acres) of badly-polluted industrial wasteland into a thriving, sustainable and biodiverse environment that worked alongside rather than in competition with the requirements of a busy, world-class sporting event.
The careful planning that was required to facilitate the games of 2012 - in particular the movement of hundreds of thousands of people each day - was very much done with a focussed anticipation of the legacy needs of the Park. This became known as "anticipated re-purposing". Where possible, legacy requirements and features were pre-built into the landscapes, spaces and buildings right at the start, before the games.
In this way, Hopkins created a vision of a Park where all elements, natural and artificial, worked together to form a living environment without many of the usual conflicts between man and nature.
With Peter Neal, John Hopkins wrote a superb book called The Making of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Very sadly, John Hopkins died suddenly in January 2013 before the first part of the Park reopened to the public.
Lesney Products R&D Dept, Waterden Road
Lesney Avenue is named after the Lesney Products company, manufacturer of the "Matchbox" range of toys, who had a research and development facility on Waterden Road and a factory nearby.
The company was founded in 1947 by Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith who, although not related, were school friends and served in the Royal Navy together. The company name is an amalgam of LESlie and RodNEY. It was founded to produce die-cast metal goods and started producing the famous die-cast toys a year later.
The Matchbox name came about with a toy that the company engineer, Jack Odell, designed for his daughter. Her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so he crafted a scaled-down version of the Lesney green and red road roller for her.
Based on the school's size restriction, the idea was born to sell the model in a replica matchbox – thus also yielding the name of the series which would propel Lesney to worldwide, mass-market success.
|Knights' Bridge and Temple Mills
Knights Bridge is named after the Knights Templar, the armed crusaders who protected fellow Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land from the 1100s onwards.
The Knights Templar owned Templar Mills, which became known as Temple Mills and gave the name to the surrounding area. These were water mills that straddled the upper reaches of Waterworks River (according to the map of 1871) and which were mainly used for grinding corn from the Knights' extensive lands in and around the marshes.
Gunpowder production at the mills led to a tragedy on the night before Easter 1690, when Peter Pain (a Huguenot refugee from Dieppe) was blown up together with two of the mills, three stone houses, and a vast quantity of gunpowder manufactured by him for the government. His family, and a French minister, also died in the blast.
Gunpowder grinding at the mills was not undertaken thereafter.
During the 17th century and 18th century, the mills were used for a variety of industrial purposes. These included grinding rapeseed for oil, processing leather, making brass kettles, twisting yarn, and manufacturing sheet lead.
Mandeville Place is named after Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the birthplace of both the Paralympic Games and the The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games (or IWAS World Games).
Sir Ludwig Guttman (see separate article here) started the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 as part of the rehabilitation effort for World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries. This was so successful that it became an annual event, becoming, in 1952 and with the participation of a Dutch team, the International Stoke Mandeville Games.
From 1960, when the annual Stoke Mandeville Games coincided with an Olympic competition, the two were held in the same city, starting in Rome. From 1984, these games were retrospectively called the Paralympic Games.
The International Stoke Mandeville Games continued to be an annual event, becoming known in 1997 as The World Wheelchair Games, in 2005 as the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games and finally, in 2005, as its current name, The IWAS World Games.
Mandeville, the 2012 Paralympic Mascot, is also named after the hospital.
Named after Akexander Parkes who, in 1866, formed The Parkesine Company Ltd in Hackney Wick to make Parkesine, the original "plastic". He had invented this in 1855 as a flexible, durable material made from a mixture of chloroform and castor oil that led to the development of celluloid.
Parkesine was displayed at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London and the 1867 exhibition in Paris, receiving medals on both occasions.
The company was voluntarily wound up in 1868 because it could not cope with the cost of the expansion required to its manufacturing capacity.
A prolifically inventive man, Parkes held at least 66 patents on processes and products, mostly related to electroplating and to development of plastics.
|Penny Brookes Street
Penny Brooke Street is named after William Penny Brookes who is considered by many to be the inspiration behind the modern Olympic Games movement.
Born in 1809 in Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England, he grew up to be a surgeon, botanist, magistrate and educator. In 1841 he founded the "Wenlock Agricultural Reading Society" to promote reading and learning among all classes of people. As part of this, he started the Wenlock Olympian Games in 1850 to promote the health benefits of exercise.
This rapidly grew in both size and popularity and in 1860, the Wenlock Olympian Society was split from the original organisation to focus solely on the games.
That same year, the event grew to be county-wide as "The Shropshire Olympian Games" and by 1865 it spread even further when an organisation called "The National Olympian Association" was founded with the first country-wide games being held the following year in Crystal Palace, London.
In 1889, he invited Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the organiser of an International Congress on Physical Education, to Much Wenlock to attend a special games there. On his return to France, Coubertin wrote: "If the Olympic Games that Modern Greece has not yet been able to revive still survives there today, it is due, not to a Greek, but to Dr W P Brookes"
The 2012 Olympic Games mascot Wenlock is named after Brookes' birthplace and home to his original games.
Tallow Bridge (also known as "F09")
A lorry from W J Curley unloads animal bones for processing
The effect of the Metropolitan Buildings Act 1844, as described in the records of the House of Commons for 1876
Tallow Bridge commemorates the many industrial manufacturers in the area that processed animal oils to make soap, glue and fertilisers. The rendering of animal bones and carcasses is a particularly smelly process and it is largely responsible for the area's old nickname of "Stinky Stratford".
Rapid growth in these industries followed the Metropolitan Building Act in 1844. This Act restricted dangerous and noxious industries from operating in the London metropolitan area, the eastern boundary of which was the River Lea. Consequently, many of these activities were relocated to the banks of the river. As a result, Stratford became one of Victorian Britain's major manufacturing centres for pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and processed foods.
There were many companies using the tallow rendering process, including:
- James Palmer, of Warton Road (c. 1876–1939), who made candles and later also soap.
- Edward Cook & Co., maker of soap, tallow, and fertilizers, settled in High Street, Stratford, in 1859. (fn. 157) In 1936 it was taken over by T. H. Harris & Sons, which had been in Marshgate Lane since 1873 and in 1929 had become a subsidiary of Unilever Ltd.
- Frederick Hempleman's manure works, Abbey Lane, later Crows Road, established by 1866, appears to have been slower to abandon the old blood-boiling processes. As F. S. Hempleman & Co. his firm survived until about 1912.
- J. T. Hunt & Son, now Hunt's Animal Products, moved to High Street, Stratford, in 1868, to escape from the by-law restrictions at Lambeth. Hunt's products have included superphosphate, bone meal, and also, from c. 1883, animal charcoal.
- Harrison, Barber & Co., manure and glue manufacturer, appears to have started at Forest Gate c. 1886, but has been in Sugar House Lane, Stratford, since 1890; it is now part of the Smithfield Zwanenberg Group Ltd.
- Alfred Jeffery & Co., makers of marine glues, came to Marshgate Lane in 1879.
- W J Curley and Sons of Marshgate Lane, "Bone boilers and tallow melters", which was probably as aromatic as it sounds.
|Tessa Jowell Boulevard
Tessa Jowell in 2005 celebrating the awarding of the 2012 Games to London with David Beckham with Steve Redgrave in the background.
Tessa Jowell Boulevard is named after Dame Tessa Jowell (17 September 1947 – 12 May 2018).
She was a British Labour politician who was the Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood from 1997 to 2015, having previously been elected as the MP for Dulwich in 1992.
She held a number of major government ministerial positions, as well as opposition appointments, during this period. Her most senior position in Government was as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, a post she held from 2001 to 2007.
A member of both the Blair and Brown Cabinets, she was also Minister for the Olympics (2005–10) and Shadow Minister for the Olympics and Shadow Minister for London until September 2012, resigning after the London Olympic Games.
A Privy Councillor from 1998, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2012. She stood down from the House of Commons at the 2015 general election.
She was nominated for life peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours and was raised to the peerage as Baroness Jowell of Brixton in the London Borough of Lambeth, on 27 October 2015.
She died of brain cancer in 2018 and the Tessa Jowell Boulevard was named in her honour on 17th May 2019 in recognition of her tireless work to bring the 2012 Games to London.
|Thornton Bridge / Thornton Street and Sidings Street
Thornton Fields Carriage Sidings to the right of the photo, the site of the London Aquatics Centre to the left. The original route of Carpenters Road is also visible as is the dark blue "Iron Bridge" over Waterworks River.
Thornton Fields Carriage Sidings
Thornton Bridge , Thornton Street and Sidings Street are named after the railway sidings that used to be sited there. Called "Thornton Fields Carriage Sidings", they were used mainly during off-peak times to park commuter trains that otherwise travelled into and out of Liverpool Street.
Thornton Fields Carriage Sidings are mentioned in a railway accident report from 2nd October 1973:
"On a fine sunny morning, the 08.46 empty electric multiple-unit train from Liverpool Street to Thornton Fields Carriage Sidings at Stratford, consisting of 8 coaches and travelling on the Down Main line, passed a signal at Danger and collided sidelong with the 08.21 electric multiple-unit passenger train from Cheshunt to Liverpool Street, consisting of 6 coaches, which was crossing from the Up Main to the Up Suburban line at the London end of Bethnal Green Station. As a result of the collision, the rear coach of the passenger train and one bogie on each of the front three coaches of the empty train were derailed: the driving cab of the latter was also badly damaged.
"The emergency services were promptly alerted and 7 passengers and the driver of the empty train, who were slightly injured or suffering from shock, were quickly conveyed by ambulance to Bethnal Green Hospital. The driver was detained overnight, but the passengers were discharged after treatment."
|Turing Street and The Turing Building
Turing Street and The Turing Building (3 Westfield Avenue - scheduled to open in 2022) are named after Alan Turing who, as the road sign says, was a Londoner, mathematician and scientist, widely regarded as the father of computing science and artificial intelligence.
He is primarily known for his vital work at Bletchley Park during World War II where his decoding of German military ENIGMA messages is said to have shortened the war by at least two years and saved around 14 million lives.
After the war, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory where he designed one of the first stored-program computers, then at Manchester University where he developed the Manchester Computers and started his research into artificial intelligence.
From 1952, he was first persecuted, then prosecuted because of his sexuality. He was forced by the government to choose between prison and chemical castration. He opted for the latter in order to continue his work.
The strain of dealing with the poisons in his body proved too much and he committed suicide in 1954, part-way through a revolutionary new computer design.
In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the government for "the appalling way he was treated". Queen Elizabeth granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013.
In July 2019, the Bank of England announced that Turing would be depicted on the new £50 note.
Ulysses Place is a public square in front of Chobham Academy that contains walls inscribed with words from Tennyson's poem.
'... that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.'
Chosen by the public for its power and universal appeal, ‘Ulysses’, published in 1842, was the winning poem in a national campaign launched by BBC Radio 4 before the London 2012 Games. The aim was to find an inspirational text relevant to both the athletes and future residents to come.
Tennyson’s poem describes a restless hero, Ulysses, an ancient Greek explorer who after wandering the world is now only sustained by the idea of living life to the full, despite age or obstacle. The last verse of the poem was selected by a high-profile literary panel to be installed in the former Athletes’ Village as a powerful example of how language can encourage and inspire. Ulysses is now located directly outside a school, a fitting location for the legacy of such an inspirational poem.
This artwork is also known as “Winning Words".
The full text of Tennyson's poem can be found here.