The former North Woolwich railway station next to the Thames in east London, and its goods yard are to become a housing development.
The station was on the old North London line, opening in 1847 as the terminus of the railway with a grand building for the station. However, as the area declined, the station building closed in 1979, to be replaced by a much smaller “shed” next door, while the grand building was turned into a railway museum. The arrival of the DLR extension close to the same railway killed off what little traffic it had and the station finally closed in December 2006.
The station though only makes up a small portion of the site, as there used to be a very large goods yard next to the station, benefiting from its placement right next to the river for deliveries.
The goods yard was reduced to just handling coal in January 1963, and by 1970 it was disused save as sidings for passenger trains. The goods yard closed in December 1970. It became overgrown and was totally empty until Crossrail took possession to use it as a construction site for the nearby North Woolwich portal.
They demolished the 1970s station as part of the clearance works.
Now that they have moved out, the site has been earmarked for a housing development.
The development will provide 348 homes, a new cafe and commercial space. Of the 348 homes being built, 127 will be affordable (85 social rent / 42 London Living Rent).
As a former railway site, the architects have proposed to use a ‘plum’ colour for the metalwork that references the historic colour of the North Eastern Railway (N.E.R) passenger carriages. Similarly, the font used on the carriages has also been used as inspiration for the signage throughout the scheme.
The grand old station building is still there but is now owned by a church. They also own the former railway track that will now run behind the new housing, and it’s a pity that couldn’t have been included with the new housing. While the railway can’t be built on, as the Elizabeth line tunnels run right underneath, it could have expanded the space for parkland in the area.
The cluster will be made up of five blocks of flats and will include two private gardens, and a public pocket park space which will also improve access through the site to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel.
Although most of the residents are likely to use the nearby DLR, the link to the Elizabeth line is only about 10 minutes walk via the foot tunnel. Unfortunately, the lifts in the tunnel are exceptionally unreliable, and Greenwich Council which looks after them is taking an inordinately long time to fix them.