The Redevelopment of Suffolk Wharf
Suffolk Wharf, the area between Camden Lock and Jamestown Road, lay derelict after Camden Housing Trust failed to develop it in 1990. In 1998 new plans have been submitted by architects CZWG.
Jamestown Road will be transformed. On the left (west) will be a glass-faced, 132 bedroom hotel; on the east an office/light-industrial building; and restaurant/bar space along the canal. At present Jamestown Road is a nondescript back alley. With Arlington House and the new Camden Pavilions on one side, and the new entrance road curving away in both directions, there will be a clear view to the Diagonal Bridge. Jamestown Road will become visually part of the Lock, with a pedestrian pathway lined with cafes, to draw people to the towpath.
In the High Street will be multi-floor shops. At the canal end, the ground floor level will curve back from the existing building line to give easier access to the towpath. This entrance will be paved with blue engineering stable block pavings to mark the transition from the new glass building to the old industrial canal landscape.
The castellated lock-keeper’s cottage, listed grade II, is the oldest canal building at Camden Lock. Today it may appear to have been a folly, built two hundred years ago by some dilettante who wanted to create an elegant entrance to Regent’s Park, but it was once a very practical building. A lock keeper recorded the passage of each craft through the lock and charged tolls on the goods carried. Soon it was hemmed in by industrial buildings and later, with the collapse of canal traffic, was abandoned.
The lock keeper’s cottage will become a British Waterways information office, with public access from both sides and a small garden. The canal ends of the new building are shaped as a curving ziggurat, stepping back floor after floor. This arrangement will allow light and air to reach the cottage and a widened quay side as it has not done for a century and a half.
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