Deptford and Rotherhithe on New Year’s Day, a set on Flickr.
On New Year’s Day, from 11.30pm until 1am on the morning of January 2, I decided to take a bike ride around my neighbourhood, in part because I’m almost permanently enthusiastic about cycling and taking photos at night, but even more particularly because I’d taken a late night bike ride down to Greenwich in the early hours of New Year’s Eve that had been so enjoyable that I could hardly wait to do it again.
So just before midnight on January 1, after tidying the house following our annual family Hogmanay party, I set off down the hill from Brockley in south east london, where I live, thinking that I might visit the River Thames in Greenwich (a favourite destination), although after reaching Deptford — one of my favourite haunts — I surprised myself by not travelling to the river, but heading north along Evelyn Street towards Surrey Quays in Rotherhithe, in the London Borough of Southwark. Surrey Quays was created as part of the huge Docklands redevelopment in the 1980s, which forever changed the face of Rotherhithe. This is an area of London that was once full of docks, and although it is a great shame that south London lost almost all its docks and canals in this period, there are places in the Surrey Quays redevelopment area that were wonderfully successful — Russia Dock Woodland, in particular — which feature fleetingly in this set. I also have other photos from summer that show more of the area, which I hope to publish soon.
This is the 71st set in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began in May last year. I’ll be away from London’s streets for ten days now, as tomorrow I’m flying to the US for events in New York City and Washington D.C. to mark the 11th anniversary of the opening of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo, and to call on President Obama to fulfil his promise to close the prison, which he made when he first took office four years ago.
For a change, if you’re interested, have a look at the photos I took in January last year — in New York, in Washington D.C., and in San Francisco and Chicago — and, although the occasion of my visit is a thoroughly depressing affair, I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to talk about the importance of closing Guantánamo, and I’m also looking forward to being reunited with old friends, and taking photos.
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.
Ruth Gilburt wrote:
These places we know so well have taken on a surreal quality here at night – particular the Deptford ones. It really is bizarre to see the street empty. Brilliant, Andy x
Oh, and best of luck in the US, as ever…..
Thanks, Ruth. Very glad you like the photos. And thanks also for wishing me luck on my jaunt across the Atlantic. Much appreciated.
Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:
We need you. This is the consciousness that prevails, still today…I groan, bang my head, then try to work:
“Deployment Ceremony for National Guard soldiers leaving for Guantanamo Bay”
Thanks, Diana. That’s pretty horrible, but indicative of how easy it is to manipulate a population primed for war to take on, unquestioningly, a “war on terror,” without asking whether there is any evidence to support the claim that a group of Muslim men kept in an offshore prison in Cuba constitute “the worst of the worst.” That was some powerful black propaganda by the Bush regime. Goebbels would have been proud.
Radmila Nastic wrote:
Incredibly beautiful. Evokes memories.
Thanks, Radmila, for the lovely words. Happy New Year to you!
Radmila Nastic wrote:
Happy New Year to you Andy.
Nick Jewitt wrote:
A very inspiring set of pics as always Andy, of a part of south London I don’t know so well. Thanks and good luck on your journey.
Thanks, Nick. Very glad to hear that you’re enjoying the photos.
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