Newton's Cottage – LONDON
London, United Kingdom
Newton's Cottage is an exciting temporary art commission on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park designed by Rotterdam-based art/architecture collective Observatorium. Commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, Newton's Cottage is a flagship project as part of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's arts and culture programme, which creates world-class art for everyone to enjoy in and around the Park.
The sculpture and programming of Newton's Cottage is about craftsmanship and making. The construction of the sculpture will be done in collaboration with the local Building Crafts College in Stratford who continue to teach a wide range of traditional crafts and making techniques. Three trainees have been selected to work alongside Observatorium and the building company of Jan Kroes in Zweeloo (Drenthe, NL) and contribute to the construction of Newton's Cottage as part of the Legacy Corporation's commitment to developing local skills and employment.
Throughout October and December 2014 Newton's Cottage hosted a series of events and activities curated by Moira Lascelles that will animate the artwork and allow a wide variety of people to engage with the themes and narratives associated with the project.
Carpenters Road Lock Newton's Cottage is located at Carpenters Road Lock at the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Carpenters Road Lock was built in the 1930s as part of improvement works carried out in accordance with the River Lee (Flood Relief &c.) Act of 1930 to help prevent flooding in the Lower Lea Valley and to allow boats to navigate around the tidal and semi-tidal rivers and canals. The gates were manufactured by Ramsomes & Rapier Ltd of Ipswich and the concrete lock chamber was built by Messrs John Gill Contractors Ltd.
The Lock is one of only four locks in the country that were fitted with rising radial gates – a type of lifting gate used on the Continent – and it is only one of two locks that was installed with two sets of such gates. In addition Carpenters Road Lock is thought to be the only lock that was fitted with two sets of rising radial gates making it a site of particular significance and an important landmark in the history and heritage of canals in London.
Until the development of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Games, the lock stood abandoned for more than 40 years and impassable for boats to navigate through. As part of the Olympic Park development leading up to 2012 an ambitious diagonal bridge by architects Heneghan Peng was built across the lock .As part of the Park's transformation post 2012 into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a dynamic amphitheatre landscape developed by James Corner Field Operations and landscape designer Piet Oudolf.
Now the Park is fully open it is the desire of the Canal & River Trust to restore Carpenters Road Lock to its former glory by re-constructing the two rising radial gates and counter balances, installing new operating gear and mechanical elements, adding lighting and signage and landscaping the surrounding area. It is hoped that Newton's Cottage is the first step on the journey to celebrate and renovate Carpenters Road Lock and we look forward to the future of this magical site.
Poem by Andre Dekker, Observatorium written on the sculpture
Newton's Cottage Home of the last lock keeper The tides are put on hold Stop motion the river and watch The manual tides of an enclosed garden Cut the flows rising and lowering The radial gates. From Walud's Bank Through Luton, Harpenden, Welwyn Garden City Hertford, Hertford Castle Weir, Ware, Stanstead Abbotts, Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Waltham Abbey, Enfield Lock, Ponders End, Edmonton, Chingford, Tottenham, Walthamstow, Upper Clapton, Leyton, Hackney Wick To Stratford and onward. A hidden view round that easy bend.
Carpenters Road Lock Home of the first onlookers Operate the canal A river for a second or so At the one step staircase Portioning rectangular Bodies of water Into the rectangular Chamber rising and lowering levels Of idyllic tranquility passing doors.