A walk through a concrete jungle

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I was down in London on Thursday to run some training in Canary Wharf. I travelled down around midday on Wednesday so I had some time in the afternoon to suss out the venue and then spend a little time looking around. I had in mid going over to Greenwich to take a look at the Queen’s House so decided to walk down from Blackwall, where I was staying, along through the former docklands and cross the river via the foot tunnel at the end of the Isle of Dogs peninsula.

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It was bright and sunny when I left home but on the train journey we hit thick cloud that was blanketing the south of England so it was grey and gloomy, and not good for photography, all the time I was in London, while back home there were bright blue skies.

Canary wharf is at the top of the Isle of Dogs, London’s historic dockland. With the closure of the docks during the 1970’s onwards the area became dilapidated and neglected.  However, towards the end of the twentieth Century the area started to be redeveloped with the construction of Canary Wharf and improved transport links and the old docks are now surrounded by skyscrapers and expensive housing developments and has become a major financial district.

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The development continues and in every direction there were cranes and the skeletons of new buildings being constructed.

It’s not an area I’ve visited before so I took the opportunity to explore. I set off from the Ibis hotel near to the Blackwall DLR station where I was staying making my way towards Canary Wharf

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I crossed the South Dock on the modern cable stay footbridge

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and carried on through the maze of concrete, glass and steel skyscraper office blocks and Yuppie housing developments. There were some remnants of the area’s industrial past

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Rather than walk along the main roads I stuck to the paths alongside the water. Although no longer used for commercial shipping, some of the docks have been developed for use by pleasure craft and some houseboats were moored up in the MiIlwall Inner Dock.

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I passed restaurants and shops serving the new residents. However, it all felt rather souless and lacking in real atmosphere.

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Interestingly, there were some signs of wildlife in this concrete jungle

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Eventually, towards the south end of the peninsula I reached  an area of  traditional “two up, two down” semi-detached houses that that at one time would have been homes for dock workers

 

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I skirted the edge of Millwall Park

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At the bottom end there was a sculpture by the the British sculptor Frank Dobson

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A short distance further and I reached the small Island Gardens park at the end of the peninsula where I was greeted by a great view over the river of the old Naval Hospital designed by Wren with the help of Hawksmoor, with the Queen’s House visible in between the two domed buildings.

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The entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel is also in the park

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Time to go underground  and cross the river.

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