Curious Insomnia: Photos of a Journey through Deptford and Millwall to Canary Wharf at Night

Budul TelecomDeeplexDeptford High Street at nightDeptford stationCanary Wharf coloursA tree by the Thames in Greenwich
Railway arches, MillwallIsle of Dogs supermarketMillwall Dock at nightMillwall Dock and Canary Wharf at nightMore to enjoySouth Quay
South Quay reflectionsSouth Quay station

Curious Insomnia: A Journey through Deptford and Millwall to Canary Wharf at Night, a set on Flickr.

At 1 am on November 14, 2012, I decided to take a late night bike ride to Canary Wharf, the modern mutant offspring of the City of London. The City is an ancient lawless zone, but it is now rivalled by the lawlessness of the Docklands project initiated under Margaret Thatcher, which expanded hugely under Tony Blair.

Canary Wharf, which I first photographed here, fascinates and repels me. Its towers, with their horribly ostentatious show of wealth, and their disdain for even vaguely concealing how much money can be made through devious behaviour that ought to be illegal — and in many cases is — are visible from almost everywhere, and are particularly dominant from all over south east London, where I live. However, while the buildings are, in some ways, architecturally impressive, that is not all that calls out across the miles when One Canada Square and its phallic companions are glimpsed from afar. The wealth they display is also meant to intimidate and/or dazzle those mere mortals — the majority of us, in other words — who earn in a lifetime what well-paid bankers take home in a year.

I’ll be analysing Canary Wharf further in the article following this one, which features the photos I took in the heart of Canary Wharf. In contrast, this set features the start of my journey, through Deptford and Greenwich, including Deptford High Street, which stands in total contrast to the wealth and rarefied shopping malls of Canary Wharf (which I photographed here). I then cycled through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, and took photos in Millwall, and also of Millwall Inner Dock, South Quay DLR station and the mainly residential developments around them, including the Pan Peninsula towers, luxury high-rises that deliberately scorn the ordinary humans below, with their promotional material celebrating those who “inhabit a private universe.”

For now, I hope you enjoy this photo set, the 84th in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May. The photos from the heart of Canary Wharf will follow soon.

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, 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.

Night Lights: Photos of a Journey from Camberwell to New Cross at Night

Trees on the Lettsom Estate, CamberwellThe Lettsom Estate at nightAn alley on the Lettsom EstateVestry Fish BarThe Poor Law Guardian's Building, Peckham RoadThe St. George's Tavern
Willsbridge, Gloucester Grove EstateLights on Asylum Road, PeckhamBath Close walkwayBath CloseThe garages under Laburnum CloseStation Passage
Trees and shadowsPomeroy StreetAn abandoned mattress

Night Lights: Camberwell to New Cross at Night, a set on Flickr.

This photo set is the 83rd in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, and after my recent publication of a series of photo sets from last July, featuring a journey through the East End to Stratford and the Olympic Park, on the eve of the Olympic Games, I thought it was time to return to the present — and also to publish some photos taken at night. For the previous photos, see here, here, here and here — and here for my journey around the perimeter of the Olympic Park.

As a result, I’m posting here a set of 15 photos I took at night a few days ago, during a journey from Camberwell to my home in Brockley, in south east London, after collecting my son from an art class organised by Southwark’s schools and the South London Gallery, and then escorting him to Denmark Hill station, to catch a train home. A month ago, in a set entitled, “Mostly Camberwell, At Night,” I published photos from a variation on this journey — from Brockley to Camberwell and back — although on that occasion I travelled back home through East Dulwich, and it was raining. On Tuesday, when it was dry, I cycled through Peckham instead, taking in a few council estates on the way — in Camberwell, Peckham and New Cross. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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