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.
These photos are the latest contributions to my ongoing project, on Flickr, to photograph the whole of London by bike — the sixteenth instalment in what will eventually comprise many hundreds of photos sets. I currently have 60 sets to post, mostly taken in a very busy month before my summer holiday in Italy, so please bear with me. I have also been adding the photos to an interactive map, which can be found here, and I am also engaged in bringing the photos together in collections, for which maps also exist, which I hope help to contextualise the photos. Tags may also be a good way of seeking out photos, and tags are available here.
The project is my way of getting to understand London, the city that has been my home for the last 27 years, and came about because I needed — for reasons involving my health and what I think can accurately be described as my spiritual existence — to combine exercise, exploration and my neglected love of photography. Read the rest of this entry »
Parks, Water and Dreams: A Journey from Surrey Quays to Central London, a set on Flickr.
On July 19, 2012, I had been invited to The Arts Catalyst, on Clerkenwell Road, in London EC1, to speak at an event marking the sixth anniversary of the arrest of Talha Ahsan, a British citizen and a Londoner, who has been held without charge or trial ever since, while fighting extradition to the US — an unjust situation that I have also written about here and here. Please also see this photo of me wearing an “Extradite Me, I’m British” T-shirt, to highlight the problems with the US-UK Extradition Treaty.
As I have become obsessed with cycling lately, both to keep fit and to chronicle the whole of London by bike (an ongoing project that I began three months ago) and, just as importantly, to feed my eyes and my brain and to allow my mind to roam free after six years of being cooped up writing about Guantánamo, I decided to cycle to the event. This journey took me primarily through Rotherhithe, the peninsula and area of the Borough of Southwark that was formerly made up almost entirely of docks — the Surrey Commercial Docks — until the demise of London’s docks over 40 years ago. As part of the regeneration of the former Docklands areas under Margaret Thatcher, Butler’s Wharf and Shad Thames near Tower Bridge, and Limehouse, Wapping and the Isle of Dogs were all regenerated, as were the docks of Rotherhithe. Read the rest of this entry »
On August 8, 2012, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike — and also to fully understand, both physically and mentally, the scale of the city and how its various neighbourhoods join together, I cycled down to Greenwich from my home in Brockley, and then along the River Thames through Deptford to Surrey Quays, and back, inland, to Deptford and home.
I was not alone on this journey, as I also took my son Tyler along as a bit of an adventure — for both of us — and we began by checking out the Olympic screen in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, and then cycling through Deptford, partly on the Thames Path along the river, which I first recorded here, through the Pepys Estate (formerly part of Deptford’s extensive docks) to the remaining docks of Rotherhithe — the South Dock and the colossal Greenland Dock — which are the last of the docks that once covered the whole of Rotherhithe. Read the rest of this entry »
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