In Stratford's Olympic park, you can smell the ambition for London 2012

There are cranes everywhere. Hard hats and a sense that if we get this right, everything will change for the better Alfred Dickens, the novelist's brother, wrote a General Board of Health report on the area soon to be occupied by the Olympic athletes, recording that "the cholera raged" and there was "neither drainage nor paving" – "in winter the streets were impassable". More recently it was a …

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