Old lock-keeper's cottage is resurrected on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

History has been brought back to life at Carpenters Lock, where boats and barges once navigated through the River Lea. Newton’s Cottage, a free-standing sculpture that replicates the form of the old lock-keeper’s cottage that once sat in the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has returned to the Park.

Named after C. Newton, the last keeper of Carpenters Lock, the project celebrates the history and heritage of this unique site and the waterways of London. Throughout October and November, there will be a number of free workshops at Newton's Cottage. The programme starts with a Maker Day on 4 October that allows visitors to take part in a series of hands on workshops including wood-carving, stone masonry and pottery. Rotterdam-based art collective Observatorium will also be present on the day talking about their work and the inspiration behind Newton’s Cottage. Subsequent events include a talk with a former lock keeper, a guided walk along the waterways and an afternoon of film screenings aboard the Floating Cinema.
Celebrating the importance of the waterways to this part of east London and encouraging people to discover the history and heritage of Carpenters Road Lock, this large-scale sculptural artwork has been commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation in partnership with the Canal & River Trust.

Adriana Marques, Head of Arts and Culture, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park said:

“We have always aimed for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to be both a local and international destination and this artwork has perfectly built a bridge between international artists Observatorium and the local trainees from the Building and Crafts College.

“We are delighted to be celebrating this partnership through a beautifully crafted artwork that celebrates the hand-made and this historically significant site.”

Built by hand over a three-week period, the structure has been designed and built by Observatorium and completed in collaboration with local trainees from the Building Crafts College in Stratford allowing students to benefit from experience of working on a complex site along with experienced carpenters.

Ruud Reutelingsperger from Observatorium said:

“Newton’s Cottage is a place for reflection and contemplation about the waterways – their importance and their role for London and beyond.  We were inspired by the narrative behind the history of Carpenter’s Road Lock and intrigued about the human aspect of the lock keeper who historically tended over the waterways.  We very much hope that people are enticed down to the lock to discover this somewhat undiscovered part of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”

Tim Eastop, Executive Producer, Art of the Waterways said:

“The Canal & River Trust has been very interested in Carpenters Road Lock for quite sometime now and are delighted to be working to restore this site in the very near future.  We see Newton’s Cottage as the first step to celebrating the Lock and encouraging people to engage with this place.”

Moira Lascelles, Curator said: “The events programme will bring Newton’s Cottage and its narrative to life.  Through a series of walks, talks and specially commissioned responses including dance and poetry I hope to attract a variety of audiences to the site to be inspired by this Lock.”

Newton’s Cottage is open from 1 October – 29 November and is located at Carpenters Road Lock in the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 


For press images and enquiries please contact the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Press Office on +44 (0) 20 3734 9010 or email [email protected] 

Newton’s Cottage Events Programme

Newton’s Maker Day

4 October, 12noon – 5pm
Come along to take part in a series of hands-on making workshops led by local East London makers
Walk:  Exploring the Waterways
15 October, 1.30-2.30pm
Join historian and enthusiast Neil Morley to learn more about the waterways and their importance to East London through a guided walk.

Talk: The Ins and Outs of a Lock Keeper

25 October, 2pm – 3.30pm
Join former lock keeper Jeremy Batch to learn more about the daily life as a keeper of the canals and waterways.

Newton’s Floating Cinema Afternoon

8 November, Stratford Pier, 12noon – 6pm
Come aboard the magical Floating Cinema for an afternoon of tours and screenings exploring the waterways of East London in collaboration with UP Projects.

Walk: Exploring the Waterways

13 November, 1.30-2.30pm
Join historian and enthusiast Neil Morley on a walk to learn more about the waterways and their importance.

Newton’s Narrative

23 November, 12noon – 4pm
Join students of the MA Narrative Environments course from Central Saint Martins who will be leading activities that weave a narrative relating to Newton’s Cottage and the history of this unique and historically significant lock.

Newton’s Dance

29 November, check website for times
Come and enjoy a performance specially commissioned by East London Dance responding to Newton’s Cottage.  This immersive piece of dance will interact with the artwork and bring it to life for its final afternoon on the Park.

About Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

London’s newest visitor destination, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is a place unlike any other. Visitors to the Park are able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, world-famous sporting venues, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. As a new heart for east London, the Park will also provide new homes, jobs and a cultural and education quarter.

The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more information visit QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @noordinarypark and like us on Facebook facebook.com/QueenElizabethOlympicPark

About Canal and River Trust
The Trust is building on a historic and fruitful association between the arts and waterways through long-term strategic agreements with Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales. Newton’s Cottage is part of the Trust’s Arts on the Waterways programme. The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, and took over from British Waterways in July 2012. http://canalrivertrust.org.uk

About Observatorium
Observatorium was founded in 1997 by Rotterdam-based artists Geert van de Camp, Andre Dekker and Ruud Reutelingsperger. Their aim is to create permanent or temporary public artworks, creating a sense of place in large-scale transformation processes that tell the local human story, reflect and enhance the qualities of the site and provoke shared ownership. http://www.observatorium.org

About Moira Lascelles
Moira Lascelles is a curator, design consultant and writer specialising in architecture and design.  Moira is interested in people, places and narratives and her work often looks to explore and celebrate these themes through commissions, live initiatives, events and workshops. www.moiralascelles.com

About The Building and Crafts College
The Building Crafts College was founded in 1893 and offers full-time, advanced craft Diploma and specialist conservation options for students who come to the College from all parts of the United Kingdom.  Supported by the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, the College offers excellent facilities, expert tutors, visiting lecturers and dedicated, supportive staff.  For over 100 years we operated from the site of the original Building Crafts Training School, located in central London, before moving in 2001 to a brand new, and much larger building in Stratford, East London. www.thebcc.ac.uk