A corner of Parisian charm, writes Lynn Eaton, can now be found in Docklands, more often compared to an American metropolis. Tucked away in Ropemakers' Fields (above), a tract of former derelict land over the Limehouse Link tunnel, there is a gravel area dedicated to the Gallic pastime of boules.

The original park on the site was used by contract vehicles during the construction of the tunnel. Since completion in May 1993, it has been renovated by London Docklands Development Corporation in consultation with residents on the Barley Mow estate.

Horse chestnuts, lime and liquidambar trees have been planted alongside holly hedging, while railings and entrance gates, embossed with a rope motif, have been installed. (The area had a long tradition of ropemaking).

The bandstand at the centre of the park is built on columns reclaimed from a

19th century warehouse at St Katharine's Docks. The designers have also created an optical illusion along one avenue, with a series of gradually diminishing gateway columns making it look longer than it is.

The park, to be officially opened on Friday, also has two playgrounds, two tennis courts and a designated area for dogs.

At the centre of the boules area, known as Narrow Street Square, is a bronze and stainless steel sculpture of a herring gull by Hackney-based artist Jane Ackroyd.

(Photograph omitted)

Comments