With thoughts on how I could translate the theme of Cruel & Tender, especially focusing on the industrialisation element, I took a trip to Greenwich.
Even getting to my location had changed. Usually, I would have got on the train to Waterloo, walked over to Waterloo East then jump on a train direct to Greenwich. However, because of the current works to the train line, I had to take the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf then the Docklands Light Railway to my final destination.
I didn’t take any photos while on the DLR itself – I was too engrossed by taking in all the changes. The amount of construction on the Isle of Dogs is quite astounding & the elevated track gives a very good vantage point. But this wasn’t the focus of my trip – onto Greenwich.
Coming out of the DLR station, it took a little while to orientate myself. Then the memories started to come back. The first place I visited was the main riverfront. This was quite familiar & it was nice seeing so many people out on a sunny February day.
The main change I noticed was the refurbished Cutty Sark, the world’s sole surviving tea clipper. The ship was damaged by fire in 2007, but has since been restored with a new visitor centre constructed.
I then started to make my way down the riverfront. I wasn’t too happy with what I saw. Instead of the open area, there were a selection of new buildings housing some chain restaurants.
They all looked out of place. One of the restaurants was even closed down. I then carried on my walk.
Out of curiosity, I went inside The Trafalgar Tavern. This was one of my locals & I even worked there for a short time in 1996. My old rowing club, Curlew RC used to be part of this building so I was curious to see what had happened to it. When I spoke to one of the staff members, he showed me an extra area of the pub, which was now a function room.
They’d opened up some doors which would have been blocked off many years ago & totally changed the space. I’d spent many hours training & socialising in that small area. Looking out of those windows & onto the Thames brought back many a happy memory.
Coming out of the pub, I continued
This small patch hadn’t changed too much. I wanted to walk further down the riverfront, but I then noticed the time. I had arranged to meet my mother for lunch at 1pm. It was now about 12.30pm – I knew I had to start walking towards our arranged meeting point if I wanted to get there on time. I could see glimpses of change teasing me in the distance. Definitely need a return visit to this area.
I had arranged to meet in Blackheath, which would mean a walk up through Greenwich Park & a stomp over the heath itself to get to my lunch location. The reason I chose this route is to take in the view over Greenwich & the Isle of Dogs behind. When I was living in Greenwich, the only main skyscraper in this vista was the Canary Wharf Tower. This definitely has changed!
With time ticking away fast, I had to scoot to get to my lunch date. What I’ll have to do now is make a return visit to explore the area further & seek out those details encapsulating the essence of this project.
Criteria Ref: P1 & P4