Friday, 31 October 2008

Gainsborough Footbridge Lift

Another piece of Hackney Wicks history disappears under the all enveloping Olympic Juggernaut!
Love it - or loathe it - the Gainsborough School footbridge has gone forever. Leabank Square was almost evenly split on this removal.
Most of the younger residents have fond memories of their classes traipsing through the concrete tunnel - from their playground - & onto the Arena Fields. There - they would either do sports, art classes, nature spotting or just eat their sandwiches.
Most of the older residents began to see it as a bit of an eyesore - let's face it - it wasn't ever beautiful. And when we put a request in a few years ago to plant the hanging gardens of Hackney Wick draping from it's roof down towards the river - we were told it had just been sold to the Olympic Delivery Authority.
Anyway - after a few false starts - (and delicious cakes, pasta bakes, olive & onion bread, teas & coffees) these pictures capture it's final few hours.
If anyone else has any other pics - please email them to and we can get better ones up here.
Always a pleasure to read the fantastic My London Diary - especially this entry:


Lucy said...


Something funny I noticed in my own pictures, on the day of the planned removal it was wind, rain and grey skies and the next day when they were lifting her a way, clear blue!

I'll email some of the shots that I got and a little video, although its not as impressive as I think most of us thought it would be. It was actually an extremely slow process but interesting all the same.

As a former student of Gainsborough it was sad to see the old thing go although I cannot deny it was ugly! After they had lifted it halfway across it seemed as if the entire area immediately brightened up. Its just sad that it wont last long seeing as we'll soon be the proud neighbours of a four lane road!

Atleast we had that yummy pasta and olive bread from Zoulla.

Thanks for the coffee!!


Leabank Square said...

Hi Lucy

What about your scrummy cakes?!?!

They were steaming in the bitter cold - you must have JUST pulled them out of the oven! Thanks sooooo much!!!

Yesteday was definetly the best day for pics. The day before was horrid - but today is EVEN WORSE!!

I pity the poor guys clearing up after the lifting - they're out there in the wind, sleet & rain as I write!

Lucy - please send some more pics & vids - it'll be great to have all the different views.

Also - is there any way you could write a longer piece on the experiences of using the bridge while at the school. It would be really interresting for all our readers to get a flavour of what it was like for the pupils at Gainsborough - it's actually history now - so lets not lose the opportunity to record some of it - please.

Thanks for the yummy cakes - but also for your whole family keeping everyone's spirits up - especially on the 1st day's weather.

We were all saying afterwards that it's so beautiful to see such a close & loving family - Colette has done a fantastic job!!


Wick Village RA said...

Hi Leabank Square

Thanks a lot for all the delicious teas & cakes on the riverbank. We all enjoyed them enormously!

Thank you too for hosting us for the 2 days. I know the meetings are important, but it was great being able to meet you all in a more relaxed atmosphere for once.

Once we get more organised we should see about knocking through the wall and sharing the BBQ area.

Thanks again!
Wick Village RA

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Idea for BBQ, love it and we can get to know or extended neighbours, make it a real community!!

Pete said...

Hi Sóna


BBQ - I wouldn't mind even having one in Winter you know?!

How good is the one up on the riverbank? Can we all use it? How many sausages can you fit on the grid?


Mr Black said...


Have you noticed the HUGE cracks that they left behind on the wall between our block & the school?!

It happened when they came to demolish the plinth that the bridge stood on.

Besides the incredible noise & concrete dust they produced, they also left behing an incredibly unstable wall!!

Something for the lawyers again methinks?

Mr Black

Pete said...


I am all for a few more barbies before the real cold sets in. Please let us know if & when you fire it up.

I'll bring the sausages!!