We started our walk at Hackney Wick Station where we met our Blue Badge Guide, Rachel Kolsky. Rachel told us about the first murder on a British railway which took place close to Hackney Wick Station. Franz Muller a German tailor murdered Thomas Briggs a city banker, this took place on 9 July 1864. He was robbed and beaten and the robber took his gold watch and gold spectacles and threw his body from the compartment. The driver of a train going in the opposite direction spotted Briggs lying on the embankment next to the tracks between Bow and Hackney Wick stations.


When the train reached Hackney Wick, the guard was alerted by two bankers who discovered pools of blood in Briggs' compartment. Police later found a black beaver hat, initially it was presumed to have belonged to the deceased but it subsequently turned out to have belonged to the murderer.


On 18 July, a cabdriver called Matthews came forward with suspicions about a German called Franz Müller. He told police that the 25-year-old tailor had come to his house with a gold chain in a box. After he had attached his fob watch to the chain, he gave the box to Matthews' daughter. The box had been sold by a jeweller named John Death from Cheapside.


Death identified Müller from a photograph and told investigators that the German had visited his shop on 11 July to exchange a gold chain. This was later identified as belonging to Briggs. With this evidence, a warrant for Müller's arrest was issued.


However by the time an arrest warrant was issued, Müller had boarded a sailing ship to New York. On 20 July, a Scotland Yard inspector along with Matthews and Death sailed for New York from Liverpool on the Inman steamer, City of Manchester, in pursuit of Müller. The faster ship arrived in New York three weeks before Müller.


When Müller arrived he was arrested. Among his possessions was Briggs' gold watch and a hat. Müller had altered the hat by cutting the crown by half its height and carefully sewing it to the brim. Although diplomatic relations between the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland remained severely strained due to British involvement in the American Civil War (such as the building of Confederate commerce raider the CSS Alabama), an American judge upheld the extradition request to return Müller to Britain.


Although most of the evidence against Müller was circumstantial, the prosecutor Mr Serjeant Ballantine made a strong case. Defence concerns that Matthews had only came forward to receive the reward were of little effect. Müller maintained his innocence throughout his trial. After he was found guilty, he was sentenced to death. King Wilhelm I of Prussia (subsequently the Kaiser of Germany) failed to get the British Government to postpone the execution.


The public hanging of Müller took place outside Newgate Prison in London on 14 November amid scenes of drunkenness and disorderly conduct by 50,000 spectators. Although this was one of the last public executions in England, they did not end until 1868.


Despite consistently claiming innocence at his trial and while awaiting sentence, Müller allegedly confessed to the crime immediately before being hanged. Dr Cappell, the prison chaplain, claimed afterwards that Müller's last words were "Ich habe es getan" (English: I did it) in response to the question was he responsible for the death of Briggs. This confession led to a large scale public outcry over whether the chaplain had overstepped his authority by breaking the seal of the Confessional.


Briggs had been murdered in a closed compartment that had no corridor, when the train started there was no way to leave until the next station. Public reaction resulted in the establishment of the communication cord on trains that allowed passengers to contact members of the railway crew, required by the Regulation of Railways Act 1868. It also led to the creation of railway carriages that had corridors. The new coach/carriage designs would have side corridors that allowed passengers to move from their compartments while the train was in motion.


We continued to walk around the area which of course had been a hub of industrial buildings and passed a large building with Mr.Bagels (photo 8) written on it, they supply bagels to all the well- known supermarkets. We also passed the building of Eugene Seller who was the very first dry cleaners. At the end of a close were hoardings and beyond that we could see one of the iron bridges which are being erected for access to the stadium, some will be removed after the Olympics and some will be narrowed.

QUEENS YARD is a multi-million pound regeneration scheme backed by one of the stars of the Channel 4 television show Secret Millionaire. David Pearl's Structadene company bought 88,000 square feet of land and commercial buildings in the area and are now planning to create a media village opposite the 2012 Olympic Park.


The scheme is looking to create office buildings and other business facilities specifically aimed at the creative and broadcasting industry. White Post Lane, a management company has been hired to promote and attract media and creative businesses to the development.


The site is already home to artists collective Mother Studios and White Post Lane's training company The Bridge. They are reported to have already signed up tenancies with Alias Smith and Singh, a hire company and an anonymous post-production company.


David Pearl hopes that the cheap office space in a vibrant setting will attract creative and media industry companies, and create an engaging area to work on the site, which in turn will attract more business to the area. He says "The yard will have a creative vibe with artists, production companies, post facilities and more, all working together and feeding off each other."


Another attraction to the site is its proximity to the area for the Olympic Games in 2012, the location of the offices would make an ideal base for any media companies covering the action.


The existing garage, print works and factory buildings will receive a full renovation at Queens Yard, with mezzanines added to some levels of buildings to increase available space. Other plans include a 10,000 square foot production studio, restaurants and bars. Incentives are reported to include an initial period rent-free.


Overall Queens Yard is set to really become a creative hub for the media and artistic industries, the regeneration of the site will go much further than just buildings. The work will help bring a whole new feeling to a previously demoralised area.


There was also an old building that resembled a house and we were told that this was the Eton Mission Rowing Club building - The Eton Mission Rowing Club was established in 1885 by old Etonians and has been based in a few different sites around Hackney Wick, London. The rowers used to get boated from under Wick Bridge and stored the boats at the St. Mary of Eton church. The first boathouse was built on the Hackney Marsh side of the Hackney Cut and stood there for over 30 years. In 1934 the existing Gilbert Johnstone boathouse was built and opened on the Wick side of the Hackney Cut. The new boathouse was presented to the club by the President Gilbert Johnstone and has an inscription over the gates commemorating his brothers: Sir Alan, Lord Derwent & Cecil. To the left of this building we could see the towpath along the canal with cyclists and walkers and further left was a new building which would become the headquarters/ hub for the international press.


**1,500 UK firms have already won contracts with the ODA worth £6.5bn, with LOCOG now awarding a further £1bn-worth to over 600 firms

**44 world-class companies signed up as domestic sponsors, each activating their sponsorship in communities in London and up and down the UK

**22 Live Sites and 47 big screens will be in place across every nation and region


We then walked around the corner towards the cobbled towpath when one of our party spotted some of their family members taking a stroll along the towpath. There were lots of signposts but some of them had orange signs which had been added to by an artist when he spotted missing lettering/signs around the area. (photo 6), (photo 22) We strolled along the towpath where we could see lots of new developments, flats with balconies facing the canal.


We passed the gas works and the confectioners Clarnico sweet factory which is is synonymous with Hackney Wick. The company, known as Clarke, Nickolls,Coombs until 1946, arrived in Hackney Wick in 1879 and made and imported sweets and chocolates. Most of the staff were girls and when they got married Clarnico's gave them a small gift of money, called a 'dowry'. They also gave bonuses to good workers and the factory had its own brass band and choir. Despite being taken over by Trebor Bassett, the name lives on in Bassett's Clarnico Mint Creams and also in the CNC Property company. Just after the second world war, Clarnico was the largest confectioner in Britain but moved further across the Lee to Waterden Road in 1955 where it survived for another 20 years.


In 1908??, King's Yard was at the centre of a campaign to save the building after much of it was slated for demolition following plans to convert the structure into an energy facility for the 2012 Olympic Games.


On the opposite embankment we were shown in metalwork a couple by the side of the canal - it was so tiny.


From the tow path we also saw 'The Copper Box' it was previously known as the Handball Arena, it was renamed because, aside from handball, it will also host the modern pentathlon during the Olympics and will be the goalball venue for the 2012 Summer Paralympics.


The Copper Box will have 6,000 to 7,000 seats. It will be used for handball preliminaries and quarter-finals, the modern pentathlon and shooting and for goalball during the Paralympic Games. When the Games are over, the venue will be adapted to become a multi-sport arena for community use. In January 2012 the venue was renamed the Copper Box from the Handball Arena, thus reflecting the look of the building and the fact that it will not just be used for handball, British Handball campaigned for the rebrand to be reversed.

As we continued our walk Rachel gave us a brief history quiz which our party tried to answer. There was even a prize at the end of it.


We also saw the distinctive steel frame of the new Energy Centre building which has been erected on the west side of the Olympic Park and will provide an efficient power, heating and cooling system across Olympic Park site for the Games and for the new buildings and communities that will develop after 2012.


The Energy Centre will include biomass fired boilers using sustainable biomass fuels to generate heat, and a Combined Cooling Heat & Power (CCHP) plant to capture the heat generated by electricity production. This contributes significantly to ODA's overall target to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent across the Olympic Park. The site-wide heat network will generate domestic hot water and heat the Aquatics Centre swimming pools and other venues and buildings. The Energy Centre design is flexible to allow future technologies to be incorporated as they are developed in years to come.


Over 500 tonnes of steel was used in the structure which will be 45m tall at its highest point. Under the steel frame there are 3,500 square metres of concrete 'planks' which had to be lifted into place to form the floors and roof.


The Energy Centre was completed at the end of 2009 and will be operational from early 2010 when it will begin providing heated water to the Olympic Stadium. It will then be connected to further venues and buildings when they are completed, delivering an early legacy of essential services throughout the Olympic Park.


There is also an electrical substation and a new pumping station and foul sewer networks.


We were told that all the houseboats along the River Lee will have to find new moorings during the games, the river had been completely cleaned and we good see the bottom through the sparkling water.


As we walked further we came upon the Forman Smoked Salmon building on the opposite side of the canal which was called 'Fish Island' the smoked salmon business was started by Harry (Aaron) Forman when he arrived in London's East End from Russia at the beginning of the last century. He pursued the trade he knew best - curing fish; in particular, the salmon he imported in barrels of brine from the Baltic. It wasn't long, however, before he discovered a rich source of fresh wild salmon much closer to home: Scotland. Inspired by the exceptional quality of fresh Scottish salmon, Harry developed a cure that complemented its unrivalled flavour. The deliciously mild London Cure was born and soon it was the talk of reputable establishments around the capital.


A century later H. Forman & Son remains a family concern, the last of the original London smokeries, with Lance Forman, Harry's great grandson, flying the flag for the famous London Cure. Remaining faithful to principles established in 1905 - the freshest salmon, a little salt, just the right amount of oak smoke - he is upholding traditional values and skills that would otherwise have died out long ago, along with one of gastronomy's finest foods: H. Forman & Son's Genuine Wild Smoked Scottish Salmon.


1935 The largest salmon ever sold at Billingsgate Fish Market, weighing in at 74lbs. This beauty was sold for 2/10 a lb when typical prices were 2/3. Louis Forman, Harry Forman's son, stands behind wearing a black homburg hat. Forman's have opened a restaurant which has been booked out over the Olympic Games, next to the building is an empty site but it is going to be turned into 'East End Riviera'


Our guide Rachel Kolsky showed us an article published in the Evening Standard regarding 'Beach Riviera' A fish factory in a windswept corner of east London will be transformed into a "Newham Riviera" for the Olympics -- complete with Sunseeker yachts, palm trees and champagne cocktails.


Smoked salmon manufacturer H. Forman & Son has unveiled plans for the "Fish Island Riviera" just 100 yards from the Games stadium in Stratford, and will also host an unofficial opening ceremony "after-party" on July 27.


Currently an industrial-era canal basin, the area is aiming to conjure up the atmosphere of the Côte d'Azur for 17 days during the Games.


Managing director Lance Forman said he hoped medal winners would celebrate their wins at the venue.


He added: "The Olympics is not a normal sporting event, it's a once in a lifetime occurrence and we've got to get it right. From our Riviera, clients will be able to hear every announcement from the Olympic Stadium. "We think the athletes will want to come over and party with us in the evenings. Fish Island will be the VIP side of the Games this summer. We expect athletes to come here to celebrate their medals.


"Even at this stage, just before the Games commence, most companies have not worked out how they will be entertaining their clients and staff, many of whom will be flying in to London from all over the world. Now they have the ultimate solution."


The development -- open to VIPs, athletes and anyone else canny enough to get in -- will stretch across 1.5 acres, with yachts moored along a 150 metre stretch of the River Lea also available for hire.


It comprises of 30 corporate hospitality suites available for the 17 days of the Games, starting at £75,000 plus VAT, not including catering. Attractions will include a 24-hour beach club serving cocktails and gourmet food amid palm trees.


There will also be a beach volleyball court where teams will perform displays throughout the day. Forman's had initially hoped to build a venue designed as a giant living room with a sofa the height of a four-storey building, as well as a 30 m x 17 m television screen. But they were forced to abandon their plans in February as they contravened the International Olympic Committee's branding restrictions.


Instead the island will be situated next to Forman's new salmon smokery, which was relocated when the company was forced to move its factory off the site of the Olympic Park when London won the Games. Work on the project, costing an estimated £2 million project, will begin in June.


So far, six of the 30 spots have been snapped up by companies and individuals keen to impress clients and contacts.


Mr Forman said: "We will be bringing all the glitz and glamour of something like the Cannes Film Festival to East London, just a two-minute walk from the stadium."


The official hospitality suites, run by Prestige, will be within the Olympic Park.


A water/bus service will run along the river run by 'Water Chariots' which will ferry people to the Olympic Park. No private boats will be allowed in the area. (photo 32)


Unfortunately the path we were due to take had been closed off because of security and we had to make a detour but at last we made it to Pudding Mill Lane - although this being the nearest station to the Olympic Stadium it will be closed during the Olympics because it is too small to cope with the crowds.


We walked up to the Greenway which had a marvellous view of the Olympic Park where we saw the completed Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, the Orbit and the other stadia behind them.


The Olympic stadium was designed by architects Populous and it will be the focus of the 2012 Games. It occupies the area around the former Carpenters Road and Marshgate Lane. Here were many small factories and warehouses, some of them dating from the start of the Industrial Revolution, one or two possibly older. This area was notable for its calico printers, dye works, soap factories and food processing plants.


To the right of the stadium is the red steel framework of The Arcelor Mittal Orbit  which is a 115m (377 ft) high observation tower, the sculpture is Britain's largest piece of public art, and is intended to be a permanent, lasting legacy of London's hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics, assisting in the post-Olympics regeneration of the Stratford area. Sited between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, it allows visitors to view the whole Olympic Park from two observation platforms.


Orbit was designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. Announced on 31 March 2010, the tower was expected to be completed by December 2011, though like many projects on the Olympic Park that date was pushed back. The project came about after Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell decided in 2008 that the Olympic Park needed "something extra". Designers were asked for ideas for an "Olympic tower" at least 100 m (330 ft) high, and Orbit was the unanimous choice from various proposals considered by a nine-person advisory panel.


The project is expected to cost £19.1 million, with £16 million coming from Britain's richest man, the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman of the ArcelorMittal steel company, and the balance of £3.1 million coming from the London Development Agency. The official name of the sculpture, "ArcelorMittal Orbit", combines the name of Mittal's company, as chief sponsor, with Orbit, the original working title of Kapoor and Balmond's design.


Both Kapoor and Balmond believe that Orbit represents a radical advance in the architectural field of combining sculpture and structural engineering, and that it combines both stability and instability in a work that visitors can engage with and experience via an incorporated spiral walkway. The structure has been both praised and criticised for its bold design. It has also been criticised as a vanity project, of questionable lasting use or merit as a public art project.


Our walk ended on the Greenway near the view tube and we then made our way back down a small pathway to Pudding Mill Lane station and headed home after a very long walk.

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