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LET’S TAKE IT BACK Beckton is part of the London Borough of Newham, England, located 8 miles (12.9 km) east of Charing Cross. Its boundaries are the A13 trunk road to the north, Barking Creek to the east, the Royal Docks to the south, and Prince Regent Lane to the west. The area around Prince Regent Lane is also known as Custom House. Modern Beckton is divided into East Beckton, Mid Beckton, North Beckton, West Beckton,

South Beckton and Cyprus (named after the British capture of Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, which occurred as the original estate was being built). Beckton was within the East Ham Urban District (later county borough). A small area on the Thames was historically part of the Woolwich parish of Kent and became part of the County of London in 1889; this formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich from 1899.

The area formerly associated with Woolwich and that associated with East Ham were incorporated in 1965 upon the formation of the London Borough of Newham. Situated north and east of the Royal Docks, the area was formerly heavily industrialised, and was the location of Beckton Gas Works, the largest gasworks in Europe, which served the capital; the area itself was named after Simon Adams Beck, the governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company.


Royal Albert DLR station is a station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in the Docklands area of east London. The station serves the western end of the north quay of the Royal Albert Dock, from which it takes its name. A view of the London City Airport is available. The station is located on an elevated section of the DLR’s Beckton branch, between Prince Regent and Beckton Park stations. It is in Travelcard Zone 3. The station was opened in 1994. There was previously a station called Connaught Road on the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway in

The station serves the London Regatta Centre and Royal Docks Business Park which houses Newham Council. It was originally planned that in 2010 work would start on extending the platforms at Royal Albert to handle three-car trains, which are being introduced across the DLR. The extension would have been at the east end of the station, bringing the platforms closer to Royal Docks Road, although no new access steps were planned. The platforms have not however been extended, and although metal catwalks have been installed, these are too narrow for non-emergency use and Selective Door Operation is used instead.

backdrop to several films. Three more similar buildings were planned on the site, but before the cash-crisis took hold. Beckton is at the western end of the London Riverside redevelopment zone of the Thames Gateway. Transport for London are planning a new bridge, the Thames Gateway Bridge, which will connect Beckton to Thamesmead on the southern bank of the River Thames. The Gasworks were still extant— although derelict—in the early 1980s, when Stanley Kubrick’s team came scouting for an area that could double for the battle scenes in his 1987 movie, Full Metal Jacket.

ROYAL ALBERT the same area but this closed in 1940. The station is further from the nearest houses than any other on the DLR, despite which it has a steady patronage from those living in the area of Beckton to the north. In fact the station signage is subtitled “For West Beckton”. However, the access route from these houses to the station, crossing the busy Royal Albert Way on the level, is notably substandard, the only footbridge being some distance away. Following the relocation of many London Borough of Newham council staff to the Building 1000 offices adjoining the station, usage has increased substantially during office hours. During problems, Royal Albert acts

2010 should have also seen Royal Albert served by a second DLR service. The existing route between Beckton and Tower Gateway would have been supplemented by a second service between Beckton and Stratford International via Canning Town using the new DLR tracks from Canning Town to Stratford International. However this extension was severely delayed and didn’t open until 31 August 2011. Building 1000, by Royal Albert Station, is a dramatic dockside structure with a full-height glass atrium. Newham Council have relocated some of their offices to Building 1000, and indeed recently bought the whole site from Standard Life for a reputed 75 million sterling. Building 1000 has been the

The Gasworks rough concrete structures were painted with Vietnamese script, and then strategically dynamited so as to resemble war-torn Hue. Retail parks now cover most of the Gasworks site. Other notable movies filmed in and around the Beckton area during the 1980s included the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, which featured extensive aerial views of the Gasworks in the pre-credit sequence. Beckton was also used as a location in Michael Radford’s 1984 feature film adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four—the Gasworks served as the setting for Orwell’s “Proletarian Zones”. The video for Loop’s 1990 single


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After spending more than £110m on a new home, the occupants would perhaps be expected to stay there for a considerable time. Yet three years after the second most deprived borough in Britain did just that, Newham council in London is considering moving out of the building it lavished taxpayers money on - designer light fittings alone cost £1,800 each - and back to its old office. One former councillor called the situation “a total fiasco” as the council prepares to return to East Ham after vacating the area for their swanky dockside ‘Building 1000’, bought for £92m with a further £18.7m spent on refurbishment. That move, spearheaded by Newham’s £81,000-a-year mayor Sir Robin Wales, was completed in 2010 A serving councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the BBC: “We can’t sell the old buildings - we have got empty premises we can’t sell. So we are paying for buildings but not using them. “If someone wanted to move into all of Building 1000 and paid the going rate we would consider going back. Meetings are going on but they are at the officer stage - they are looking into it.”

DOCKSIDE Local government minister Brandon Lewis said: “It’s an amazing thing spending £111m on a building that was argued by Newham to be saving money and yet they are sitting on empty buildings elsewhere. When you spend that sort of money just on light fittings and £111m on a building, residents looking for good quality services and low council tax will rightly be asking difficult questions of the council.” It is not the first financial fiasco that Newham council has been embroiled in. The borough’s London Pleasure Gardens closed last summer five weeks after it opened at a cost of more than £4m. Mike Law, a former Newham councillor turned local blogger, told the Independent: “The only reason Wales wanted a luxury building was to entertain Olympic officials. This whole situation is no surprise to the people of Newham.


SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. THE early inhabitants of this marshy fen-land were probably Bronze or Iron Age fisherfolk. From the remains of a substantial timber track uncovered in the early 1990s, archaeologists believe the area sustained a number of settlements. In 1997 the remains of a Bronze age settlement was discovered on the site of what is now the Royal Docks Community School at Custom House. Among the remains were pieces of pottery, arrowheads , flints a substantial wooden support post and parts of a yew tree.

Later the Romans had a burial ground nearby. And evidence suggests there could have been a Roman road and ferry point and perhaps a look-out post at Gallions Reach. During medieval times the area was known as Hamme, a name meaning ‘flat, low-lying pasture’. For a while it belonged to Guthrum the Dane who won it in a battle in Hamme coors;a name meaning ‘flat, low-lying pasture’. For a while

it belonged to Guthrum the Dane who won it in a battle in 878 against Alfred the Great. By the time of the Domesday Book (1086) Hamme consisted of three separate manors; the eastern one, later to become East Ham, ly by Gernon and Ranulf Peverel.


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