Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Cracks appear in Wapping High Street cobbles – none surprised

By on March 7, 2018 in Big Half Marathon

Cracks have appeared between the cobbles in Wapping High Street that were patched up just before Sunday’s Big Half Baked Marathon event.

Cracks in cobbles Wapping High Street after patching for Big Half Marathon

LW was alerted to this yesterday by a resident so, being in a cobble photographing mood, we popped along to see if we could spot some cracks.

Cracks in cobbles Wapping High Street after patching for Big Half Marathon

The only problem we had was finding repaired areas which did not show any cracks.

Although cobble cracks are a topic of fascination for some we gave up after a little while.

Cracks in cobbles Wapping High Street after patching for Big Half Marathon

These photographs were taken between Wapping High Street junction Wapping Lane and just outside the Captain Kidd.

Cracks in cobbles Wapping High Street after patching for Big Half Marathon

The annoying this is that when we noticed the cobbles being repaired last week in the somewhat inclement weather residents were quick to point out that maybe repairing the cobbles was not such a good idea when it was a bit nippy?

Cobble repairs before Big Half Baked Marathon – what could possibly go wrong?

Because they might, well, crack.

Which it seems they did.

Quite a few people did not think the works were carried out to a decent standard but this was flatly denied by Tower Hamlets Council at the time.

This was what Tower Hamlets Chief Executive Will Tuckley said in an email to a resident:

“Thank you for your email regarding the cobbles in Wapping High Street.  I have liaised with the appropriate officers and can answer your questions as set out below.

On inspection he has confirmed that the hand pointing is of sufficient standard.

There are two methods that could have been used to repair the defects – the first of which is a grout but that would only have closed the gap between setts so the second option of  hand pointing was used as there was movement in the granite setts that required a deeper bond for strengthening.

As the work is patching rather than relaying the whole carriageway, the newly pointed areas will stand out temporarily until the drying process changes the colour of the lean mix and the traffic weather the repaired area. Rapid hardening additives have also been used in the lean mix to accelerate curing times to open the road sooner.

Mr.[REDACTED] has asked the contractor to brush finish the affected areas using sharp sand as an additional abrasion material to remove any harder lines of lean mix following the hand pointing.”

So that’s ok then.

There is no way anything like the cracks photographed today will appear.

Had us worried for a moment there!

Where are the speed bumps?

In addition to the bodged work on the cobbles it seems that the speed bumps that were removed are still absent without leave.

Which of course means that the cobbles will be damaged even further by vehicles zipping along the High Street at a rate of knots.

Apart from this all is well.

No doubt the Big Half Marathon organisers paid for the initial work on Wapping’s roads and will be further billed for the work to put the damaged cobbles right and replace the speed bumps.

Note: Yes we know cobbles should be called setts but life is confusing enough as it is. 

Update 09 March 2018

Statement from Tower Hamlets Council

“With regards to maintenance on roads, we monitor all of our contractors reinstatements and should we find any that are not to our standard or specification, the contractor is instructed to revisit. Further remedial works are required and we can confirm that our contractors will be returning over the next two weeks to repair them.

“The speed bumps were removed for the Big Half marathon event on Sunday 4 March. We can confirm that the speed bumps will be replaced in the exact same locations with the exact same dimensions. The previous rubberised humps were showing signs of deterioration so they will be replaced with humps made of asphalt, which will last longer and are easier to maintain.

“Undertaking repairs to existing granite sett carriageways is very challenging as over the years many different utilities have excavated trenches for their services and this, over time undermines the shape of the carriageway.

This makes it especially difficult when undertaking permanent patch repairs as we are governed by the existing shape of the road. As custodians of the public highway,  particularly in conservation areas, we always respect the historic value of our assets and take great care in ensuring that they are well maintained.”

Great to hear and thanks to the Council for this update.




If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Chris says:

    I should add that what ever position Wapping residents take as to whether the Big Half Marathon should have taken place and whether it should take place in the future, it is important as Cllr Denise Jones’ mentions “for safety reasons” to get the cobbles fixed.

    That is “if” the Half Marathon is to return the fact the cobbles have already broken up makes running on them a hazard again and it is probably better they fix them now the weather is less inclement. It is also not very safe for driving/cycling of course / damage to vehicles.

    I would also like to thank Denise Jones’ assistance in helping me escalate this issue with TH Highways and the TH Mayor’s Office.

  2. Denise jones says:

    I reported this yesterday and have asked officers to assess the work and to to repair it properly. Apart from the appearance it’s a safety issue. Cllr Denise Jones

%d bloggers like this: