Me and The Goff walked the Thames from Woolwich to Rotherhithe on a sunny Sunday. It’s a stretch of the river neither of us have much cause to visit and it’s fascinating, not least because so unlike the London of our everyday lives.
There’s still industry here from an age of rust and clank sitting besides new flats that by comparison seem more modern than they already are.
It’s a place of dead and ruin, of abiding and of the future. Perhaps appropriately it crosses the Meridian Line.
And the river is wide, spanned at the east by the Thames Barrier, which shines beautiful in the sun, keeping greater ruin at bay.
On Sunday mornings I play basketball on a court up a hill not far from where I live. It’s a walk away and the path up takes me through a park and, more often than not, past an old timer sitting on a motorised wheelchair.
It’s late spring at least but he is dressed in layers of clothing, rubber boots and a wooly hat above his cornflake face and big grey beard.
In his exhaustive portrait of the capital city, Peter Ackroyd described London as ‘the city of gallows’.
The location of one such set was Execution Dock in Wapping. The precise spot is unknown but a good contender is next to the Town Of Ramsgate pub on the high street, down what have become known as Wapping Old Stairs.