Monday, 5 January 2009

Silvertown day..

Over the weekend we took a trip across the river to visit the house in Silvertown before new tenants move in. It's such an interesting part of London, on the river to the east. It's the one place that is still finding it's identity after shifting from industrial factories and docks to at present that great combination of abandoned wasteland and luxury apartments!
I also have been reading a fascinating book about the area called Silvertown by Melanie Mcgrath.Lovely review here Written about her grandmother Jenny, it tells the tale of Jenny's parents ekeing out an existence at the start of the century,a huge family crammed into two rooms and as she grows up, the area changes as well, from being the shipbuilding heartland and then as huge monster-like factories spring up employing thousands and thousands of people.It is one of those sad but inspiring stories full of hardship and poverty but yet strength and ability to endure.One where you realise how life has changed for the most part beyond imagining. The chapters set during the Second World War are heartbreaking as the devastation wrecked on the East End of London was phenomenal.And her children evacuated for years. I guess I never realised that children were away for the duration of the war.
It was so interesting to read about an area we have lived in and remember what a different place it once was. Now you can hardly recognize it from the book. I kept having to ask the Shoe where was Pontoon's Wharf and Tobacco Dock. What were once thriving places of industry are now just stations on the Docklands Light Railway.

I saw it through new eyes as we took a walk around the docks and the beautiful Thames Barrier Park. An oasis amidst the rundown factories.
It was a stunning day,crisp cold and the waters of the dock still as a mirror in the fading light.The reminders of those industrial days still remain; Millenium Mill a huge monolithic building towers over the wasteland and the Tate and Lyle factory still pumps away-sending out wafts of Golden Syrup scent into the air.The houses lie in the shadow of the huge factory.

The Tate and Lyle sugar factory.

Millenium Mills from Thames Barrier park.

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