Woolwich to Darent

I’ve been taking something of a rest from photography for a few days, partly on health grounds, with some minor issues meaning I don’t feel up to carrying a heavy camera bag around or standing around for hours, and that’s given me a chance to get a few projects finished.  Included among this are three books, the first of which, German Indications, I posted about  a few days ago.

Also now completed is Woolwich to the Darent, the first of three books on an extensive project which I mainly worked on in 1985-6 in Greater London and North Kent in the industrial areas along the shore of the River Thames and the estuary. You can see a limited preview above which shows around half the book.

As usual I recommend the PDF version, both for its better reproduction and rather more sensible price. You can also download and view it more or less instantly, while print orders take a week or two to be produced and dispatched by Blurb.

When I talked with some of the management of Blurb a few years back, I suggested they should look up more cost-effective delivery for their books, particularly for small orders, but they don’t seem to have done so. I don’t yet have any print copies, but I will be selling them later for those in the UK at £25 plus £2.00 for postage.

Those with long memories may remember some posts here where I shared a few of the pictures from this back in 2014, Around Erith, 1985South of the Thames, North Kent 1985: Rosherville, and Gravesend & Rosherville 1985.

The title has turned out to be a little misleading. There are no pictures actually taken in the town of Woolwich, though there were a couple in the original set, which got eliminated from the final version. Back when I took the pictures a large area of the riverside east of the town centre was still occupied by the Ministry of Defence and not accessible to the public – and I think there were still notices prohibiting photography around it.

But Woolwich – since 1965 a part of the London Borough of Greenwich – used to include the whole of the Royal Arsenal site, the eastern part of which by the time I went there was Thamesmead, already a large estate for London’s overspill. On some of the older maps that I looked at, the whole area was still left blank in a rather pointless attempt at official secrecy as  German maps in WW2 and cold war Russian maps showed considerable detail! But even the modern maps for parts of the area open to the public were not too reliable, with some paths not shown and others on the maps fenced off.

Today things are different, with the Thames Path Extension now going all the way to Crayford Ness. It makes a pleasant walk or cycle in good weather, although there have been quite a few changes, and I’ve been back a few times taking pictures – including some in my Thamesgate Panoramas, which really does start at Woolwich, but goes on rather further east to Gravesend.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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