Royal Docks to host
huge fun gardens
A new entertainment quarter in
east London featuring a giant dome will recreate the pleasure
gardens that were at the heart of the capital's social life for
more than 200 years.
A 15-acre site at the Royal Docks in Newham is to be
transformed into the
Gardens, hosting a string of Olympic-year shows. Performers
lined up include Groove Armada, Gary Numan and Baaba Maal.
There will be a 1,000-capacity dome with a 6.30am licence,
sculpture garden, floating cocktail bar and dance and theatre
The park will be able to host 35,000 people in total. It will
officially open on June 30 with the Paradise Gardens weekend,
featuring Roots Manuva, Alabama 3 and Jerry Dammers of The
There will also be fireworks and a theatrical performance at Silo
D, a restored Grade II-listed concrete grain solo, inspired by a
1917 tragedy when a TNT factory exploded.
The park will host the BLOC electronic music festival, featuring
Orbital, Snoop Dogg and Gary Numan, and replace Jubilee Gardens as
the venue for African concerts in the BT River of Music programme,
with star names such as Hugh Masekela, Staff Benda Bilili and The
Noisettes. There will also be free entertainment throughout the
Pleasure gardens were a feature of city life from the mid-17th to
mid-19th century and were sites of mass entertainment. They were
also a popular place for romantic assignations.
The £5 million venture is backed with a £3 million loan from
Newham council, which cut the deal with a team of producers whose
projects include the Lost Vagueness field of alternative
entertainment at the Glastonbury Festival.
They will be redeveloping and operating the site for three years
as a prelude to the long-term regeneration of the area.
Borough mayor Sir Robin Wales
said: "Not only will it provide a spectacular venue, it will give
jobs to Newham residents and generate revenue which will be
invested back into the community.
"London is moving east and the Gardens will highlight the
incredible opportunities available to investors."