For many people, North Greenwich will forever be associated with Millennium Dome. It is the station closest to it and was built with sufficient capacity to deal with the hoped for hoards that would come flocking to the Millenium’s answer to the Festival of Britain. As we all now know, visitor numbers didn’t hit the expected levels and after the exhibition shut at the end of 2000, the building remained empty for several years. However, like one of its most vocal champions, the building was a fighter and not a quitter and since 2007 has had a new lease of life as the O2 arena. In my few experiences of seeing gigs here, the station has coped admirably with the crowds!
The station opened on 14 May 1999, several months ahead of the Dome. It is a very impressive building, I especially liked the blue tiling and glass paneling which have a really striking effect as you leave the platforms and head up towards the ticket hall.
The Pub: The Pilot, 68 River Way, SE10 0BE
With the majority of the area cleared for the Dome or demolished when the old industrial uses for the area fell out of use, there aren’t many buildings here which date from before the late 1990s at the earliest! However the pub we went to was one of the few survivors from days gone by! On exiting the station and heading South away from the Dome, get onto Edmund Halley Way, getting onto West Parkway and heading down along there until you come to The Pilot.
Located at the end of a small row of traditional Victorian houses,its setting is incredible. It’s like they’ve been plonked down from a previous century into this landscape of ultra-modern developments. Inside The Pilot, which was built way back in 1801, is a smartly decorated pub with plenty of nods to its position by the river – porthole mirrors, tables in the shape of trunks and old shipping posters on the walls. There was also a big globe which I resisted the temptation to spin around. Another theme seemed to be old kids toys, as there was a large display box full of old Cowboy and Indian figures as well as posters for 1950s robot toys! The way the light was shining in through the windows on our mid afternoon visit also made the place seem very bright and airy.
Its a Fullers pub so has their usual range of ales along with the beer Black Perle which I haven’t seen before. I had a very pleasant tasting pint of Pride here. The food is standard pub fare at around the £11-£13 mark – the chicken schnitzel burger looked interesting! The pub also has a small garden at the back and even has a few hotel rooms in its upstairs area. Seating wise, there are plenty of comfy sofas dotted around the place as well as a dining area downstairs.
Regarding the pubs survival, story goes that the property developer were ready to offer the owner a substantial sum to have it demolished in the early 1990s but he refused and stuck to his guns. As you might imagine, it did an excellent trade during the construction of the Dome and other nearby projects as the workers had somewhere to go after work, and we have his stubborness to thank for it still standing today!
The Pilot is a really nice pub – its quite the experience to stumble on this traditional building in the midsts of such a modern part of London. I definitely recommend you pop in and experience that contrast for yourself!