Sunny Sunday: The Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf, a set on Flickr.
In my quest to catch up on posting some of the photos that I didn’t manage to post before my family holiday in Italy in August, this set and another to follow record a glorious Sunday in July when, with my family, I cycled from our home in Brockley, in south east London, down to Greenwich, through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and along the western shore of the Isle of Dogs to Limehouse, and then on to Wapping, where our objective was to visit the Wapping Project, an art gallery and restaurant housed in Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, which was built in 1890 and closed in 1977.
This is the 43rd set of photos in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which is progressing extremely well, despite my inability to post the results to keep up with my photographic journeys, as I have 160 sets still to post, with more on the way on an almost daily basis. Come rain or shine, I am out on my bike, having discovered, after my illness last year, when I gave up smoking after 29 years, that being healthy, and relentlessly exploring this fascinating and sometimes infuriating city I live in, by bike, is the perfect antidote to years of imperilling my health by smoking like a madman and working obsessively on Guantánamo. Not that I’ve given up on Guantánamo, of course, as I still write regularly about the ongoing horrors of indefinite detention for the men still held there, and, just this week, published an exclusive article based on notes from a lawyer’s meeting with Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, which Shaker wanted to be made available to me.
I also continue to chronicle and resist the barbarous and ideologically motivated “age of austerity” imposed by the Tory-led coalition government, which, outrageously, is destroying the very fabric of the British state by making the poor, the ill, the unemployed and the disabled pay for the crimes committed by bankers and the corporate world, with the support of politicians, while shielding the guilty. This narrative often surfaces in my travels around London, as I have begun to notice the increase in poverty, although it is most readily apparent in the numerous high-profile building projects underway, despite the recession that is increasingly making life miserable for ordinary Londoners, in which the corporate interests who have hijacked our world continue to remake the city in cold glass and steel. Everywhere across London, projects costing hundreds of millions of pounds are underway, which, shockingly, are financed by the banks, as a result of the money pumped into their coffers by taxpayers, and used not to support small businesses and entrepreneurs but to help consortiums of property developers and speculators to create housing that is unaffordable for ordinary working people, and even for those who are paid well above average wages.
This set of photos doesn’t explicitly address these problems, although it is an undercurrent, as it always is when Canary Wharf and the high-rise riverside developments on the Isle of Dogs are involved, where the minimum rent for a one-bedroom property is £300 a week, and is generally much more than that. Mainly, however, this set records some details missing from my earlier photos from the Isle of Dogs and in and around Canary Wharf, and the next set does the same for Limehouse and Wapping, where the trend has been more for the renovation of wharves rather than the building of new apartment blocks, and where my family and I also succeeded in locating and visiting the Wapping Project.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, Kelley Wear wrote:
Wonderful, Andy. Thank you for sharing.
Mahalia May wrote:
you take great pics. and they make me miss england. i wasnt there long and i was young so i dont remember much. i spent my 10th grade at boarding school in ascot and lived on the thames in runnymede. and i went to a mall in slough i also remember it took 11 minutes to london on the intercity LOL. thanks for sharing the pics.
You’re welcome, Kelley. Thanks for your interest. And thanks also, Mahalia. So much of the city is completely new to me, it has surprised me to learn, or I realize I haven’t been to various places for ten years, or 20 years. In addition, even places I know I’m looking at with a photographer’s eye, so hopefully the whole project will carry on being fresh, and carry on bringing the fabric of London to life.
Mahalia May wrote:
well if you remember to, let me know if you ever are in or around windsor area and take pics there. i would love to see pics of that part of england. i wonder if it is still as quaint as it used to be
I’ve only been in Windsor a few times in my life – and not for many, many years. I think they built a Legoland theme park somewhere nearby, but I don’t imagine things have changed in general — the Queen’s castle is still there, and Eton is still there too, churning out inappropriate Prime Ministers and Chancellors of the Exchequer. I will certainly let you know if I visit and take photos, but it’s some way outside of central London, so it’s unlikely in the imminent future …
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