There is a huge transformation taking place in Newham. Some parts – not least, the Olympic 2012 site – are big redevelopment schemes providing new homes and job opportunities with business centres.
But the borough’s heart is still throbbing. A survey by consultants for one of the many schemes found that, unlike so many towns in the country, local residents strongly support their neighbourhood shops.
High Street North, East Ham, and, particularly, Green Street have a strong Asian influence. Quality Asian fashions, jewellery and food can be found everywhere is these shopping centres. Both have markets. In Green Street it is Queens Market, where food is priced lower than at many supermarkets and food rarely seen in this country can be found. High Street North has an indoor market with individual small shops, with many selling those always difficult-to-find items.
Stratford, too, has its own indoor market Monday-Saturday and a small outdoor market. Adjoining its main shops is a cultural area featuring the Theatre Royal, performing arts venue Stratford Circus and an impressive cinema. The Old Town Hall in The Broadway has superb architectual features and St John’s Church, in the middle, has a renowned 19th century organ. All this will provide a welcome to shoppers visiting the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.
Canning Town is undergoing a major redevelopment, even larger-scale changes are occurring in the Royal Docks and Excel Centre is London’s largest single-site exhibition venue.
There’s a city farm near Royal Albert DLR station and the O2 arena has become firmly established as one of London’s top venues for performance shows.
Three Mills, Stratford, has Britain’s oldest tidal mill and, in a former distillery, London’s largest private film and television facility. They are sited alongside the River Lea, which has a popular adjoining pathway – ideal for an interesting and enjoyable walk.
Newham is a developing story. Many more surprises and fascinating landmarks can be expected.