Pedways over the City of London

Pedways over the City of London

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Upper Thames Street in the present-day, now a ...

Pedways on Lower Thames Street via Wikipedia

One of the highlights of Dianne Hally’s walk London The Great Survivor
is the view from the Barbican Highwalk – almost 2000 years of London architecture in one spot, from the Roman Wall to Norman Foster. Dianne reminded us of one of the stranger schemes planned for London – the city pedway scheme. The idea was to create a network of elevated walkways, keeping pedestrians away from the streets below, which would be the preserve of motor vehicles. The plan had the backing of city planner Percy Johnson-Marshall who compared the scheme to Venice, the city streets were like canals and the pedway the bridges over them. Despite these high minded ideals the scheme wasn’t ever fully built. It meant offices had two sets of receptions, one at street and one at pedway level. Shops built at pedway level found it difficult to get deliveries, shops at street level had no customers. Poor design meant the pedways were windswept and prone to flooding. As fewer people used them people feared using them creating a cycle of decline.
The pedway scheme would have been hugely destructive – the plan involved running through the delightful space that is Finsbuy Circus. However it wasn’t without its plus points, the pedway provides fabulous rooftop views of the city churches and livery halls, and they create quiet spots away from traffic noise. The pedway that was built is rapidly disappearing. The Barbican is the biggest surviving section but you can still see sections around Lower Thames Street. If you see a building from the late 60s with a walkway that seemingly goes nowhere, its a pretty good bet that it was designed to connect into the pedway.
For more information, and if you really want to see the City as a work of art check out Dianne’s Walk The Fascinating Story of London The Great Survivor
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