Posts Tagged ‘high level bridge’

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek 2015

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek: My day on Thursday 4th June 2015 began with a protest outside the AGM of G4S on the UN International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, after which I took a walk around the Royal Victoria Dock looking at the three sculptures then on London’s meridian sculpture trail before going for a longer walk around Barking Creek on this fine early summer day.

G4S AGM Torture Protest, Excel Centre, Custom House

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek

I travelled out to the Royal Victoria Dock in Newham for a protest outside the Excel Centre where G4S was holding its AGM. It was the UN International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression and protesters were there as G4S runs the Israeli prisons where Palestinian children are held in small underground cells in solitary confinement, often for many days.

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek

An Avaaz petition with 1,792,311 signatures had called on G4S to stop running Israeli prisons and Inminds had held regular protests outside the Victoria St head offices of the company.

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek

Some had bought shares in 2014 so they could attend the AGM and ask questions, and there were angry scenes inside the AGM as they were forcibly ejected. In 2015 there were also shareholder protesters, but security for the meeting was tight and mobile phones were prohibited and press were very definitely not allowed access.

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek

As the protest outside continued, some of those who were ejected this year came and spoke about what had happened when they tried to ask questions, and the general feeling inside the AGM, which appeared to be one of some despondency.

G4S Abuses, The Line & Barking Creek

Security at Excel made attempts to move the protesters further away from the building. Eventually a request was made to reduce the noise as there were students inside taking an exam and after some discussion the protesters moved back

G4S also runs immigration detention centres in the UK where various human rights abuses have been disclosed by reporters.

More at G4S AGM Torture Protest.

The Line – Sculpture Trail, Royal Victoria Dock

I left the protest and took the opportunity to walk across the high level bridge over the dock, taking a few pictures, and then along the path around the dock to the DLR station at Royal Victoria.

As on other occasions I found the views from the bridge stunning, and those at ground level were also interesting.

By the time I came to the first of the three sculptures on London’s sculpture trail on the Greenwich meridian the first two of these seemed extremely underwhelming. All have now been replaced by other works in a trail that regularly changes.

The only one I found of any interest was ‘Vulcan’ (1999), a 30ft-high bronze figure by late Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi, now in Edinburgh, close to his home town of Leith. You can see pictures of the other two on My London Diary.
The Line – Sculpture Trail

Barking Creek

It was a fine afternoon and I decided to return to Barking, hoping to go along the path on the west bank of Barking Creek to the hames, marked on my OS map as a traffic-free cycle route. But as in the previous year I found it fenced off and with a locked gate.

Instead I made my way north along Barking Creek, past Cuckold’s Haven to the Barking Barrage, a half tide barrier opened in 1998, going across this and returning alongside the east bank of the Creek to the A13, where I took a bus to Beckton and the DLR.

Barking in the nineteenth century claimed the world’s largest fishing fleet, with 220 commercial boats, going out into the North Sea fishing grounds, and fishing was the major industry of the town. But in the 1860s the fleet moved out to Gorleston in Suffolk and Grimsby in Lincolnshire, both much closer to the fishing grounds.

Until then the fish had been kept fresh by ice, gathered on Barking marshes in the winter and stored in large ice houses until taken out in the boat, or stored live, swimming in sea water tanks inside the boats. A fast schooner was used in the heyday to bring the catch from the fleet back to Barking so they could continue fishing for up to a couple of months. Once in Barking the fish was then well-placed for the London markets.

The coming of the railways meant that fish from Gorleston or Grimsby could be taken rapidly to London for sale, and the industry in Barking collapsed almost overnight. There are still a few boats moored on the river at Roding, but the only fishing is a few mainly elderly men sitting by the river with rod and line, who I’ve never seen getting a bite. And it would certainly be a brave man who would eat anything out of the Roding or Thames.

But fish is now coming back to Barking, or at least nearby Dagenham Dock, under a City of London Scheme, but although this has received planning permission it apparently still needs an Act of Parliament. Progress on this was halted by the dissolution of Parliament on 30 May 2024.

More pictures on My London Diary: Barking Creek.

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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
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Canary Wharf, East India, Silvertown, Beckton & Woolwich

Thursday, May 16th, 2024

Canary Wharf, East India, Silvertown, Beckton & Woolwich: I was back in London’s docklands on 16th May 2004, a week after I had led a small workshop there, this time on my own, and rather than walking I had gone with my Brompton folding bike.

Canary Wharf, East India, Silvertown, Beckton & Woolwich

The Brompton is an ideal way to cover larger distances when taking photographs. It can be folded to go on public transport and is very easy to get on and off and park in little or no space. It folds and unfolds in seconds. It’s a lively ride with a short wheelbase and good for riding in traffic, though for longer rides I prefer my road bike.

Canary Wharf, East India, Silvertown, Beckton & Woolwich

The Brompton has some minor problems. They are not cheap – which delayed me buying one for years. It’s not built for off-road use and mine has mudguards that can clog and stop the wheel turning on muddy ground. And now I’m a bit older it is just a little heavy to carry for any distance in stations. But my main problem is that it is a thief magnet, dangerous to leave anywhere for any length of time even if you have a good lock. No bike lock can defy the well-equipped thief for more than around half a minute and it slips easily into a car boot and fetches a good price.

Canary Wharf, East India, Silvertown, Beckton & Woolwich

I’d hoped to get the Jubilee Line to Canning Town, but trains were only running as far as North Greenwich, so instead I got off at Canary Wharf before the train went under the Thames again. It was no problem as I had the bike.

Canary Wharf, East India, Silvertown, Beckton & Woolwich

I took a few pictures around Canary Wharf, then rode off to the east past Blackwall Basin and on to the East India Docks probably the most boring of all the redeveloped docks.

From there I went up on the Lower Lea Crossing, taking pictures of Pura Foods to the north and the view south across Trinity Buoy Wharf and the Thames towards the Millenium Dome.

I photographed the Dome again from Silvertown Way, as well as the works taking place for the DLR extension to London City Airport.

A big advantage of being on a bike is that you can wander around, and I went down to the Royal Victoria Dock, then back to Silvertown Way and Lyle Park, then back to Victoria Dock again.

I couldn’t resist going onto the high level bridge across the dock, though the lift wasn’t working and I was cursing the weight of the bike and cameras by the time I reached the top of the stairs.

Eventually after making rather a large number of pictures I forced myself to come down and continued my ride along the North Woolwich Road to the futuristic Barrier Point, its west front like some space city.

In Thames Barrier Park I went down to the riverside to photograph the barrier before continuing on to Silvertown, stopping a few times for more pictures. Near North Woolwich I sloweed to photograph two boys on a scooter being towed by a woman on a bicycle. I stopped take more pictures but later I met them in North Woolwich and they told me she had soon given up.

I took some more pictures in North Woolwich and then rode on to Beckton Retail Park, then turned around and went down Woolwich Manor Way across the Royal Albert and King George Docks.

Back in 2004 flights from London City Airport were fairly infrequent and I had quite a long rest waiting to photograph a plane going overhead.

I rode on to North Woolwich ferry pier where I had a wait for the ferry and took some more pictures. In 2004 I wrote that the Woolwich Ferry is “London’s best-value river trip. I wonder how much longer this free ferry will operate?” It was upgraded in 2018 with new, modern, low-emission boats which proved rather a disaster. Services had been severely reduced, working with only one of the two new boats.

But Transport for London a week ago in May 2024 restored the two-boat service and expanded operating hours. They say the service will continue as long as there is demand. A short ride took me to Woolwich Arsenal Station where I folded the Brompton for the journey home.

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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.

Dangleway, Silvertown and Stratford Marsh

Sunday, June 26th, 2022

Dangleway, Silvertown and Stratford Marsh: My day out on Wednesday 26 June 2013 began by taking the tube to North Greenwich and then walking to the cablecar for the ride across the Thames.

Back then I commented “Given the huge losses it is sustaining I can’t see it remaining open too much longer, so if you’ve not taken a ride don’t leave it too long“, and I’m surprised to find it still running 8 years later. But perhaps not for much longer, as the sponsorship deal with the Emirates Airline comes to an end this month, and no other company has come forward to pick up the tab, even though TfL have offered a huge reduction for the privilege.

Never a sensible contribution to London’s travel network it remains one of London’s cheaper and more interesting tourist attractions. I’m not sure whether the fact that it now lands on the north bank spitting distance from London’s now misplaced County Hall adds to its chances of retention, but it could make it more likely to be brought within the normal London fare structures.

There are already fare reductions for people with Travelcards, and frequent users can buy a ticket which reduces the cost to make it a viable part of a commute to work, particularly as you can take a bike with you for free. However I suspect the number of ‘frequent fliers’ is probably only in two figures. Its also a service which is more affected by weather than surface transport, closing down in high winds.

But it does have the height to give some splended views, even if the surrounding area is perhaps less rich than that of London’s other aerial attraction, the London Eye. Actually for me is considerably more attractive, and it’s an area which is now rapidly developing on both sides of the river, with new residential developments replacing old industrial and commercial uses.

The dangleway is also a part of the East London sculpture trail, The Line, which vaguely follows the Greenwich Meridian, from North Greenwich to Stratford and makes an interesting walk, although this will become a more interesting walk once the riverside path from Cody Dock to the East India Dock Road is opened, something we have been waiting for around 20 years. One day it might even extend past Canning Town station to Trinity Buoy Wharf, but we may not live that long.

Although you can see the riverside from above, little of it is now publicly accessible, though I walked along Bow Creek and a little of the Thames here back in the 1980s taking photographs now on Flickr. But back then the Royal Victoria Dock was largely fenced off and you can now walk around it and over a high-level bridge which also has interesting views.

Or at least you can most of the time. But the area becomes a high security zone with the bridge closed when the Excel Centre is full of arms dealers selling often illegal arms to repressive regimes around the world – every other September. Fortunately it was June, though I was back there for the DSEI protests in September – and in other years.

The DLR also runs through the area on a viaduct, and from the train and the stations you also get some interesting views, though the train windows are often rather to dirty for taking photographs. That you are looking south from the line can also mean the sun is shining directly into the lens.

This is the Woolwich branch of the DLR and at Canary Wharf I changed onto a train towards Stratford, alighting at Pudding Mill Lane to walk up onto the Greenway. I arrived just too late to go into the View Tube there so I had to be content with making pictures from the Greenway which runs high through the area.

I’d begun making photogrfaphs here back in the 1980s, and had published some of these on my my River Lea/Lee Valley web site – and in the Blurb book ‘Before The Olympics‘, returning to the area occasionally and photographing it as it changed and particularly as the Olympic site developed. Progress on restoring the area to some useful purpose appeared to be very slow

More on My London Diary where the pictures are also larger – though you can see these ones larger by opening the images in their own window.
Stratford Greenway Olympic Revisit
Victoria Dock and Silvertown
Emirates ‘Airline’ – Arab Dangleway