Canning Town


On Sunday Dad led a guided walk around the Canning Town area for the London Arts Café group he belongs to, so I came along.

After discussing the history of the Thames Ironworks foundry, which used to be where the DLR/tube/bus station complex is now (and to which there's an inscribed concrete slab in that entrance, complete also with a thick plate of iron hull from the first iron Royal Navy warship which was built there), we took the DLR a couple of stops to Custom House.

The first sight of interest was a sculpture I didn't bother to photograph and a location which, apparently, had been in the news twice: once many years ago when a tower block blew up in a gas explosion, and once recently when somebody had been in a dispute with local youths and got shot dead.

Following the cheerful start, we went down to the Royal Victoria Dock, which had closed relatively recently when the Port of London Authority moved most shipping further down the river to Tilbury. It was now very decorative and surrounded by expensive flats and an exhibition centre.

They had left a number of big cranes in place.
1/250 at f8, 22mm, ISO200

The most impressive feature was a pedestrian bridge which crossed the dock entrance at a great height (presumably to allow ships under). It had stair towers/lift shafts at each end to reach the high-level span.

A corner of the stairwell.
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View through stairwell wall to the Dome and the Canary Wharf complex.
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Once on top, the bridge offered good views in all directions.

So I looked down to take a could-have-been-anywhere picture of the water. Hmm.
1/125 at f8, 60mm, ISO200
Structure around edge of the stupidly-capitalised ExCeL exhibition centre (and a bird).
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Canary Wharf again, moody clouds, and the Gherkin in the background.
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Spillers' Millennium Mills (1933) - a still-abandoned building! Yay! Unsurprisingly, there is a development plan which will see this turned into flats or something before too long.
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Bridge and stair tower.
1/750 at f8, 10mm, ISO200

We left the dock and continued on toward Silvertown, where a very large chemical complex had once blown up due to dangerous explosives production practices during World War 1.

An unrelated chimney in the middle of a roundabout. Why don't we get giant chimneys in the roundabouts in Milton Keynes?! Enquiring minds want to know.
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The memorial to said explosion.
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Next was Barrier Park, beside the Thames Barrier. This had been designed by a French landscape architect. The walk ended here.

The boarded-over parts used to be fountains.
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A very tall pavilion with a hole. Not, as far as I know, sponsored by Nestlé.
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Floor of pavilion.
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The consequence of the hole.
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Wave-shaped hedges in Barrier Park.
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Dad doing his final walk-guiding stuff.
1/250 at f8, 22mm, ISO200

After a drink in the park café, we walked back to the DLR station, which was quite high and provided good views.

D Silo, taken from the DLR station. The rusty metal apparatus is probably for sucking grain up from barges in the water below.
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Pontoon Dock DLR station (featuring Dad).
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Back side of Millennium Mills from the DLR station.
1/350 at f8, 60mm, ISO200

Aaand that was my Sunday. :)

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.