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Canary Wharf: Exhibition at Crossrail Place celebrates Black Culture in Britian

Association Of Photographers and Canary Wharf Group display winning images in the Roof Garden

Kanika Carr from John Ferguson’s Black Suffolk series

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Nestled in the foliage of Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Wharfers can find a selection of images displayed to mark Black History Month.

The month-long exhibition is the result of an open contest by Canary Wharf Arts And Events and the Association Of Photographers for snappers to submit pictures that display the creativity, beauty and strength of the black community in Britain.

The best images have been selected and form the Black Culture In Britain photography exhibition now in place at Canary Wharf.

AOP communications coordinator Suzanne McDougall said: “When you have an amazing topic like this you have myriad possibilities – when you look at the work that’s been submitted you have so many experiences, so many voices coming together to tell very different stories that form part of a whole.

“The space is great for really looking at the boards displaying the work – seeing images at that scale is always very impactful.

“When you start to learn a little more about the person who has been photographed it’s very rewarding and I think revealing of how photography offers so many different routes to come at a particular topic.

“The images are beautifully positioned so you can take some time, walk through the roof garden, appreciate the work and be struck by the talent and diversity on display.

“It’s important to show photographs in spaces like this because people should have access to images. 

“It’s a reminder that the cities we live in are made up of people of lots of different cultures and backgrounds – having that exposure to different voices is always a really good thing. It stops people.”

Black Culture In Britain will be on display in Canary Wharf until October 31.

WINNER’S WORDS

Leroy Logan by Mark Harrison

Run as a competition, Black Culture In Britain comprises the gold and silver winners, selected from more than 200 entries by AOP For All, a group that strives to increase awareness of photographers of colour by making both them and their work more visible within the industry. It also includes work by six runners up.

Taking the top prize was Mark Harrison’s image of former Met Police officer and author Leroy Logan – recently the subject of one of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe films for the BBC.

Mark said: “I’ve been a photographer my whole life – shooting professionally for 32 years. I started working on the premise that I wanted to avoid a job that involved the same commute every day and that I probably couldn’t do anything else.

“In that time it’s gone from film to digital – from transparency, which was very difficult to use, to negative, which was easier and now digital, which is even easier – the biggest change has been in the element of professionalism. 

“That was because most people wouldn’t have had a clue how to shoot slide film whereas now everybody can shoot digitally because it does a lot of it for you.

“We can all produce good results, a few can produce brilliant results, but in the olden days nobody could produce anything unless they were a professional. The whole game has changed massively.”

Detail from Latoya Okuneye’s silver winning image

If you do something well you get asked to do more of it and I’ve always taken pictures of authors,” said Mark, who is based in Tunbridge Wells and has a varied career working for print publications as well as capturing images for TV shows and corporate clients. 

“The shot of Leroy I submitted was taken at the same shoot I did for his book cover.

“What happened was, I completed what they asked me to do and he had this incredible suit on, and I just wanted to do something separately for me.

“He had such an amazing presence – my assistant, who didn’t really know who he was, said: ‘My God that man has something’. 

“I asked him to stay an extra half hour, changed the lighting and tried to capture that intensity.

“He really liked it – I sent it to him afterwards, but it never got used and I kept it as my memento from that shoot. Everybody in the room talked about him for ages afterwards.

“He had extraordinary stories and the Small Axe film had just come out so his whole life had just been put on screen.

“We’ve stayed in touch ever since and I just think he’s quite something. He represents a lot about London, about changing times and how race has changed in my lifetime. To me he’s a symbol of lots of things. 

“In my game, anything to do with the AOP is hugely important – their contests are the gold standard of achievement. I submitted this image because this topic came up and I thought: ‘This is perfect’. I was absolutely staggered to have my image named the gold winner.

“I’m personally really thrilled – I’ve never won anything with the AOP before.

“One of the reasons I thought Leroy to be interesting as a submission was because I guessed most people would represent younger black culture. He’s had an incredible life, experienced terrible racism and he’s done so much.

“I’ve photographed many people of significance and I’ve never forgotten him – he’s very cool.”

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Woolwich: Why Berkeley Homes continues to finesse Royal Arsenal Riverside scheme

Tweaks to Building 10 deliver greater access, commercial units and eight new properties to buy

Windsor Square under construction at Building 10
Windsor Square under construction at Building 10 – image Matt Grayson

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As the team from Berkeley Homes are leading me on a tour of the Building 10 site at its Royal Arsenal Riverside development, I spot an unexpected local resident. 

As the dwindling light of an autumnal Monday streams through the open roof of what will become a partially enclosed public square, it falls on the glossy, auburn coat of a fox.

He stops briefly to survey us in our hi-vis PPE, before disappearing off about his business, bushy tail bobbing behind him.

Foxes are deeply practical animals. Their intelligence and flexibility has seen them adapt with ease to increasingly built-up areas of London, becoming a common sight across the capital as they effortlessly tailor their lives and ambitions to the realities they encounter. They’re smart – and it pays off. 

Berkeley is similarly adaptive and pragmatic. It has to be. Instead of simply levelling the 88-acre Woolwich site and starting again – arguably the easier option – it’s made a consistent and conscious effort to preserve and celebrate the area’s heritage. 

That has meant refurbishing and reimagining existing structures and ensuring a flavour of Royal Arsenal’s sprawling operations – that at their peak saw 80,000 people employed locally in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition and supporting trades – remains.

Berkeley East Thames development director Julian Evans
Berkeley East Thames development director Julian Evans – image Matt Grayson

Working with older buildings, no matter how careful the preparations made, is unpredictable. Sometimes, until you get on site, the feel of the finished product is unclear. 

It’s also the case that developments take a long time and, sometimes, what was originally planned no longer suits the demands and desires of the people who will ultimately use it.

A certain amount of finessing is therefore to be expected and Berkeley’s latest proposal for Building 10 continues a process of tweaks made to the original scheme, which was approved in 2017.

That included plans for 18,800sq ft of commercial space split into seven units, which was increased to 34,600sq ft over 10 units in 2019 with the addition of mezzanine floors to spaces at the western end of the site and the introduction of a fresh access route out to Major Draper Square.

The original architectural model of Building 10
The original architectural model of Building 10 – image Matt Grayson

Berkeley East Thames development director Julian Evans said: “We continually think about whether we have the right solution in terms of the buildings we are developing.

 “We’ve recognised that the nature of the proposed commercial spaces underneath the new-build section of Building 10 is they are constrained by the historic arches, meaning they would be compromised to the point that, if we took them to market, they wouldn’t be attractive to potential tenants.

“The nature of retail, particularly, is about that frontage – that footfall. It’s understanding that visually, people need to be able to see that where a business is and what it does.

“So we reviewed the eastern large ground floor space and created something new – we’re proposing an atrium with four smaller commercial units that gives people a wonderful sightline through to an existing archway, which will connect out to the next phase of Royal Arsenal Riverside.

“This will create a link between the two, while also maintaining the ability to have smaller, modern but more prominent retail units that face outwards onto the street.”

An interior at the Building 10 show home
An interior at the Building 10 show home – image Matt Grayson

The new proposal keeps the total number of commercial units at 10, with a slight reduction in space on the 2019 proposal. It still represents an increase of 52% on the 2017 scheme and opens up the semi-enclosed square at both ends. 

“At the same time, this change means there’s an opportunity to create eight mews-style houses that we know people crave from what we’ve delivered on-site to date,” said Julian. 

“Buyers want something different. The properties would be set over two levels – they have the feel of a house and they’re quirky in their nature.

“The houses at Building 10 will also be homes people can both work and live in if they need to.

“What people have loved over the years is that the historic properties we’ve created at the development don’t exist anywhere else – they’re unique to this place. 

“It’s a really great proposal and, I think when we take all of the commercial units to market, it’s such an exciting space that they will be really well received.”

The change also plays into Berkeley’s strategy for fostering small business growth locally.

Head of social value Carolina Correia
Head of social value Carolina Correia – image Matt Grayson

The developer’s head of social value Carolina Correia said: “We’ve been very lucky to have been working with a number of micro businesses in the area who have expressed an interest in being on-site. 

“They recognise how interesting Royal Arsenal Riverside is as a proposition.

“We have a coffee cab that stays here from Tuesdays to Sundays. Then we have a rotation of different street foods.

“The plan is to create an arcade at Building 10, which will have some of these smaller commercial units, and it’s a great opportunity for some of these businesses to trade here. We’re also working hand in hand with Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency to provide training and mentorship so these businesses can grow to full commercial propositions.

Julian added: “This whole concept of incubating local businesses that start on a kitchen table and come to us, explain what they want to do and then get help, is what Berkeley has been doing from day one. This latest proposal is part of that.”

Building 10 comprises a new-build structure containing more than 110 apartments, alongside Windsor Square, a partially covered space that once formed part of the Carriage Works at Royal Arsenal.

The proposed eight new residential properties would range in size from one to three bedrooms and would feature double height spaces, first floor balconies, historic features, a split level layout and dual aspect living.

Prices for homes already on sale at Building 10 start at £470,000. One, two and three-bedroom properties are available. 

The building is located close to Woolwich Crossrail station which will offer direct services to Canary Wharf in seven minutes when trains start running in 2022.

A show home is available to view on-site. 

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Greenwich: Boaty McBoatface and RRS Sir David Attenborough set for Ice Worlds

National Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark will host a three-day festival to welcome the ship to London

The Royal Observatory’s Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder – image Matt Grayson

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Boaty McBoatface is coming to Greenwich. The small yellow robotic submersible is set to arrive in the capital on board the RRS Sir David Attenborough as it arrives in the capital on October 27, ahead of the UN Climate Conference COP26 at the end of the month.

Britain’s newest polar research vessel’s visit to the capital forms the centrepiece of Royal Museums Greenwich’s Ice Worlds festival celebrating and exploring scientific endeavours in some of the world’s most extreme environments.

From October 28-30 the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark will be awash with scientists, talks and events – almost all free to attend, aimed at revealing what it’s actually like to live and work in the Arctic and Antarctic today.

“A lot of people haven’t really met a scientist or tried to understand what they’re doing,” said Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder, senior manager of public astronomy at Royal Observatory Greenwich, who is looking after the festival’s programme. 

“That’s the most important thing when you’re setting up an event like this – you’re asking yourself how we can facilitate that with our spaces.

“Most of the research done on vessels like RRS Sir David Attenborough is funded with taxpayers’ money so everyone deserves to have its results communicated back to them and all the good that it’s doing. Talks allow us to bring the public and scientists together.”

A crucial part of that for Ice Worlds is that young people participate in the festival with a range of activities on offer across the three days.

Emily said: “The majority of the festival will take place at the National Maritime Museum – there won’t be tours of the ship but there will be the opportunity to see it from the outside where it’s moored opposite the Cutty Sark. 

“Throughout the event there will be family talks for children as young as seven and on the Saturday we’ll host some more advanced sessions for adults as well. 

“We’ll be covering topics such as: ’What is it like to live in Antarctica? How do scientists survive down there? What are the scientists studying in Antarctica?  What are the scientists trying to understand about climate change?  What’s the wildlife like? and What’s the ocean life like?’.

“On the Saturday from 11am-4pm, there will also be a penguin parade where we’re asking children to come dressed as penguins or to make their own costumes at the event so they can take part.

“Visitors will be able to see Boaty McBoatface itself, and also look at what the scientists are really studying, anything from climate change to how the ocean currents in Antarctica work, seeking to understand the geological history of the Earth, examining fossils and exploring ocean environments.

“The festival also includes exhibitions that will be set  up around the National Maritime Museum with scientists on hand from the British Antarctic Survey who are actually going to Antarctica on the Sir David Attenborough.

“It’s going to be really exciting and people will be able to interact with these exhibitions and see so many different things.

“ On a personal level, I want to understand how robots are used in Antarctica, and all the techniques that scientists are using to study that region – how we use technology to better understand those extreme environments.”

While Emily’s area of interest remains looking up into the sky to the planets and stars, she draws a clear link between the work of astronomers and those exploring the deep.

“From my perspective as an astrophysicist, I think there’s a massive comparison to be made between extreme environments on Earth and on other planets,” she said. 

“When you have these moons, like Europa, a moon of Jupiter and Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, one of the questions that scientists are asking is, could there be life in those oceans below their icy surfaces?

“Understanding the environments on the Earth and how life can exist in those extreme environments at the bottom of the oceans allows us to understand if life could exist on such moons and beyond.

“There are scientists aboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough studying the extremophiles that live around thermal vents on the seabed – it’s actually very warm down there but completely dark and you have these micro organisms, bacteria for example, and different types of crabs that can survive down there without any sunlight.”  

Royal Museums Greenwich is also hoping the festival sparks a desire in younger visitors to pursue a career in science, fuelled by curiosity

Emily said: “I was always interested in science when I was a kid – I was curious and asked a lot of questions as well as annoying my parents by taking pieces of equipment apart and trying to put them back together again.

“Science allowed me to keep asking questions and eventually I got to a point where nobody knew the answers and that’s the great joy of being a scientist – being able to try to figure out the answers. 

“I ended up doing astronomy because, looking up at the sky as a kid I wondered if anyone was looking back. 

“I came to the Royal Observatory because I wanted to talk to people about all the amazing things we were finding out about space.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Discover the National Maritime Museum's dedicated gallery
Discover the National Maritime Museum’s dedicated gallery

SEE | Polar Worlds

Explore the museum’s gallery dedicated to the exploration of, and life in, extreme environments.

Ongoing, National Maritime Museum

Dress up like a penguin and parade around
Dress up like a penguin and parade around

KIDS | Penguin Parade

Come dressed up or make your own costume before taking part in a stylish penguin parade.

Oct 30, 11am-4pm, NMM

An Antarctic ice core
An Antarctic ice core

SCIENCE | Secrets In The Ice

Meet the scientists who drill deep into Antarctica and find out how ice cores reveal 800 years of history.

Oct 28-30, NMM

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Isle Of Dogs: Personal injury lawyer secures £1.25million settlement for client

Kidd Rapinet Solicitors’ Vashti Prescott explains the importance of seeking legal advice after an injury

Vashti Prescott is a personal injury lawyer at Kidd Rapinet
Vashti Prescott is a personal injury lawyer at Kidd Rapinet – image Matt Grayson

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Mohamed Morad didn’t know when he put his helmet on and climbed onto his motorbike on a summer’s day in 2016 that his life would change forever.

Born and bred in Egypt but with an Italian passport through his mother, he’d travelled to the UK in May 2015 in the hope of earning money to support his wife and child and their unborn baby.

With no home of his own he led a life taking odd jobs in bars and restaurants, sleeping on friends’ floors and sofas or paying for nights in budget hotels.

It was while working as a fast food delivery driver on that June day that disaster struck. A taxi pulled over illegally to drop off its fare and the passenger opened the rear door of the vehicle directly into Mohamed’s path.

It was the moment those riding bicycles and motorbikes on London’s streets live in fear of – an unexpected obstacle with no hope of avoiding it. 

Mohamed was knocked off his bike, sustaining very severe injuries that, after extensive surgery, left him permanently in a wheelchair with one leg stretched out in front of him. 

He developed chronic pain syndrome and remains on a cocktail of daily medication. He has suffered bouts of severe depression, often contemplating whether to take his own life.

Medical experts have unanimously agreed that nothing further can be done to ease his physical condition save an above the knee amputation, which for religious reasons Mohamed won’t consent to. His story is a snapshot of a life shattered in an instant by terrible injury.

The fight to get Mohamed compensation has been long and complex but, five years after his accident, Isle Of Dogs-based Kidd Rapinet Solicitors settled his claim for £1.25million this year – an amount that recognises that he will never work again.

Personal injury lawyer Vashti Prescott, who represented him, said: “Since his accident Mohamed has been reliant on other people for all of his basic needs.

“During the height of lockdown he went days alone in his apartment unwashed and dependent on volunteers to bring him food. 

“He lived in squalor and, in addition to the difficulties of his physical condition he has really severe psychological problems. He knows his wife and children are overseas and he hasn’t even seen the younger child other than by talking to them daily on his phone.

“Ahead of the conclusion of the claim and with the help of Kidd Rapinet’s immigration department we managed to bring Mohamed’s family to the UK in March.”

This however was deemed to be a change in circumstances by the Government which stopped his benefits, putting enormous financial pressure on the family.

“Mohamed wanted to settle for £1.25million and while the process has been long and difficult, we hope the outcome will help him and his family,” said Vashti.

“We will assist him in investing the compensation to ensure funds last well into his future.”

The Met Police report allowed the parties involved to be identified
The Met Police report allowed the parties involved to be identified

Kidd Rapinet, which has offices at Harbour Exchange, is sharing Mohamed’s story to raise awareness of the role lawyers can play in similar situations to ensure those who suffer injuries through no fault of their own receive the compensation that they deserve.

“They should immediately seek legal advice,” said Vashti. “If something like this does happen to you, it’s important to document your injuries in as much detail as possible.

“Keep a pain dairy. The way you feel changes overtime. You might have very severe acute pain, which might then become a dull ache. It’s important to be clear how an injury and its symptoms affect you and to record that.

“Compensation is not just based on the nature of an injury – one person might break their leg and make a fairly quick recovery.

“Another might sprain their ankle but then suffer symptoms that affect them on a day-to-day basis for much longer. In this case the second person would get more compensation.

“Also document medication, not just the kind of medicines but the dosages and how they change. People should also keep a record of losses as all this information will be useful to your lawyers later on.”

“A solicitor will look at your claim, make an assessment and decide whether they will take it on a no-win, no-fee basis.

“If they do decide to take on the claim it simply means they will act for you. If successful, they will then take a fee, which is capped by law at 25%, although we only charge 20%.

“That fee is only payable on past losses and pain and suffering. All of a client’s future losses, which in Mohamed’s case, for example, were a large proportion of the £1.25million, are ring-fenced.

“Had we not been successful in his claim, we would not have charged him anything at all.

“In Mohamed’s case we applied for the police report into the accident and we used that information to identify the various parties involved.

“That enabled us to bring a claim against the taxi’s insurance company, having established the vehicle had pulled over where it shouldn’t have done.

“You don’t just claim compensation for the injury – you look at loss of earnings, care costs and the hidden costs incurred as a result of it.

“The more serious a claim, generally speaking, the longer it will take. Normally by about three years the doctors know where you stand with a serious injury and whether there’s anything more that they can do for you or might be done to improve your prognosis.”

A solicitor will then fight your corner for the best possible level of compensation on the merits of the individual case. 

Vashti said she felt the law should go further for awards over a certain level, making it a legal requirement for a court-appointed, independent financial advisor to help claimants to ensure they invest the money they get sensibly to ensure it fulfils its purpose.

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Rotherhithe: Author Tom Chivers shares an extract from his latest book London Clay

The Rotherhithe-based writer offers thoughts on his first non-fiction work and a slice of the text

Author Tom Chivers grew up in south London
Author Tom Chivers grew up in south London

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Recently released, London Clay is Tom Chivers’ first foray into non-fiction.

Billed as a “lyrical interrogation of a capital city, a landscape and our connection to place”, its 464 pages host a heady blend of historical research, reportage and personal memoir that promises to change the way its readers view urban areas.  

A published poet as well as an author, publisher and arts producer, south London-born Tom has lived in Rotherhithe with his wife and children since 2014.

He said: “I grew up on the River Effra, literally over it because it’s subterranean, and that made me realise there’s a whole world beneath the streets.

“When I was 17 I wrote a very long and bad poem called Effra, which was an attempt to reflect the lost rivers in writing and, ever since then, I’ve been interested in trying to capture the history and atmosphere of London – its speed, aggression and that underlying sense of violence one feels in the city.

“I wanted to show that strange dissonance between the London of high finance and the London of poverty and grime as well as the new London that’s rising above us now.

“My way in was the lost rivers – some of them are still flowing, but many are untraceable so you’re looking for fragments or remnants. I’m interested in the natural landscapes of London so I started looking at the geological foundations of the city. 

“The premise of London Clay is a series of walks, but it’s trying to understand how the deep city of geological strata has determined the history of the city, and also how we feel about it and approach it today.

“It’s not a traditional guidebook – firstly, each journey tries to get under the skin of the place and immerse readers in that weird landscape, trying to unpeel the surface of the city.

“Secondly, I would genuinely love it if people felt inspired, both to go to the places that I write about, but actually more so to go to places that they know, that they live in or maybe work in, and use that same method of starting with the geology.

“The extract here features my journey to the River Lea and, because I’d never been there, discovering this extraordinary landscape – the developer’s dream of London City Island, Bow Creek Ecology Park and the absolutely amazing Trinity Buoy Wharf populated by artworks all about immersing us in deep time – the perfect place to end my journey across the city.” 

London Clay: Journeys in the Deep City by Tom Chivers is published by Doubleday and costs £20 in hardback.

Detail from the cover of London Clay by Tom Chivers
Detail from the cover of London Clay by Tom Chivers

FROM LONDON CLAY

>> I arrive in Limmo to the music of screeching tyres: a silver hatchback flooring it out of the western roundabout of the Lower Lea Crossing.

Burnt rubber.

Mudflats.

Tidal swill.

>> I had crossed the river to get here, to walk the final stretch of the Lea, on an empty train from Rotherhithe, before trekking through the former maritime ‘hamlets’ of Wapping, Shadwell, Ratcliffe, Limehouse and Poplar – now one continuous development from the Tower Of London to the Lea.

The river is where it ends.

‘To start again. With a wiped slate’.

>> Leamouth: Limmo: Limbo. The purgatorial energies of the place are overwhelming. Ruined dock walls stand in the shadows of half-built towers, open to the wind; sales and marketing suites for future homes; concrete flyovers sunk into alluvial swamp; the brine-stink of Bow Creek, as the Lea is called down here, where the channel loops back on itself in a series of hairpin bends. 

The Lea once formed the border between Wessex and the Danelaw and it still feels like frontier land – London’s Wild East. On the near side, the Saxon kingdom of Alfred (urbane, Christian); on the far bank, the great heathen army of the Vikings under Guthrum. The earliest canalization of the Lea may date to this time, when in AD895, Alfred ordered the draining of its lower reaches to prevent the Viking fleet reaching the Thames from their base in Hertford. In the middle of the roundabout a giant figure surveys the traffic heading across the Lea – the three legs and disembodied face of Allen Jones’s Aerobic (1993) – a rusting, sheet-metal Matisse whose feet are barbed like arrowheads, like something dredged from the water.

>> I find a bench by Bow Creek and carefully disinfect my hands with antibacterial gel before wolfing down a shop-bought sandwich. A couple in matching Lycra stop for a photo, their beaming selfie framed by an island of green wilderness on the opposite bank, where dense vegetation spills over the steel revetments at the water’s edge. Storm clouds are gathering to the north as I cross to the island by a modern footbridge. 

The bridge spans the creek just below the nine-lane flyover of the A13 and also runs parallel with an abandoned single-track railway built in 1848 to carry goods between Canning Town and the East India Dock. The railway bridge is now covered with graffiti and rendered inaccessible by forests of weeds and nettles at either end. Nevertheless, I notice that a nylon hiking tent has been pitched on the empty trackway directly above the freezing tidal water. 

A fourth crossing – an ornamental pipe bridge carrying gas into London from the Beckton works – is remembered by a solitary brick pier on the east bank. The tent shakes violently in the wind gusting downstream.

Tom's work is billed as a 'lyrical interrogation of a capital city'
Tom’s work is billed as a ‘lyrical interrogation of a capital city’

>> The island across the water, I discover, is not wilderness at all but a carefully managed ecology park squeezed, ingeniously, on to a teardrop peninsula inside a loop of the creek. A branch of the Docklands Light Railway splits the narrow bar in two such that the park appears, in places, to be merely an extension of the railway verge. The geography is hair-raising. 

As I move along the island, deserted trains rush past on an elevated viaduct to the southern shore, where they appear to launch, unmanned, back across the creek, soaring like rollercoaster cars above the Lower Lea Crossing. The DLR track extends a dead-end railway siding marked on old maps and aerial photographs – the only visible feature of an otherwise muddy, contaminated wasteland. During the construction of the park in 1996, traces of mercury were detected in the ground, leading to the addition of an extra 40cm of topsoil. 

Where the Olympic Park struggles to contend with the vast scale of the Lea Valley, the Bow Creek Ecology Park has the benefit of intimacy; it takes around 10 minutes to complete a circuit on footpaths brimming with red clover and ox-eye daisy. Locals appear alone or in pairs: a jogger by a reed-filled mere; two women sharing a spliff in a shady bower beneath the railway embankment. Small white butterflies explode from bushes as giant bumblebees stumble, nectar-drunk, amid the wildflowers. I disappear into the undergrowth for a piss and for a moment, in the darkness between trees, I could be almost anywhere but here.

>> An information board tells me how the park’s wetlands are fed by groundwater from a borehole sunk into the mud to a depth of twelve metres. A pump is used to regulate the levels in two ponds connected by a weir. Every September, an area of meadow is deliberately inundated ‘to mimic the natural flooding of a river floodplain’. Here, as Sid observed, the natural is artificial – a simulacrum of the real thing. But the human is also part of nature; we are hustling at the edge of the frame, observers of a world to which we, too, are subject.

>> I follow the path out of the park and along Bow Creek. In this corkscrew geography, the east bank is now west, and across the mudflats another peninsula emerges. In shape it is an inverse facsimile of the first, a little larger perhaps; but in place of the dense foliage of the ecology park it is crammed with towering modern apartment blocks. The sheet metal revetments have been capped with brand-new concrete blocks and stainless-steel railings on which two men in matching polo shirts are leaning.

>> In truth, there is nothing ‘flat’ about the mudflats of Bow Creek. They swell and heave with the submerged ruins of innumerable wharves and slipways, timber piles and river stairs – here folding and unfolding like a satellite image of mountains, here fractured by deep gashes filled with rubble, nails, car tyres, rusting exhausts, chicken wire, road signs, aluminium cans, traffic cones, shopping trolleys, waste pipes and, a little upstream, a large steel litter bin. 

Everything that could have fallen into the creek has done; and everything that has done is covered in the same claggy, grey liquor. It is hard to resolve this hazardous, post-industrial topography with the upmarket development on the opposite bank. Unlike the upper reaches of the Lea, Bow Creek remains defiantly tidal. It is a dynamic environment that cannot easily be tidied away.

>> I cross a footbridge spanning the creek and City Island appears, as it is designed to, like a miniature version of Lower Manhattan. The name is a marketer’s invention – a place that is dense with history now reduced to its simplest forms. Island. City. City. Island.

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Canary Wharf: How Third Space has all the facilities you need to forge a healthy habit

Senior lead trainer Danny Cunningham on the importance of consistency when it comes to fitness

Danny pushes a sled at Third Space in Canary Wharf
Danny pushes a sled at Third Space in Canary Wharf – image James Perrin

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“For people to see that exercise is something to do on a regular basis, like brushing your teeth is incredibly important,” said Danny Cunningham.

To describe the senior lead trainer at Third Space as passionate about fitness would be similar to saying Tigger is partial to the odd bounce.

Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to attend one of his classes in Canary Wharf knows he all but vibrates with exactly the sort of infectious energy you need when trying to summon up the motivation to inch that ambitiously heavy kettlebell you accidentally selected at the start of the session, off the ground. 

He also makes it plain, crucially, that if you’d rather just squat using your own bodyweight, then that’s just as valid and equally worthy of celebration.

CONSISTENCY

“Even if somebody turns up and just does 10 minutes of something, that’s going to have a more positive impact on their mental and physical health, than if they neglect exercise altogether that day,” said Danny.

“It’s consistency that enables people to progress. Like cleaning your teeth, you might not do it as hard or as long on certain days, but you know it’s important to do it regularly.

“Exercise is really great, it makes people feel more cheerful. Getting into the habit of training regularly tends to have a beneficial knock-on effect – those who do often finish tasks more efficiently at work or at home, creating real positive momentum.

“The opposite is often true as well – clients often end up telling me they’ve had a bad day when they’ve missed their morning workout, woken up a bit later and turned up to their first meeting feeling a bit rubbish. It all stems from starting off on the wrong foot.

“Morning exercise is great, but it isn’t for everyone – training at lunchtime or in the evening is excellent too.”

Danny knows what he’s talking about – having been thrown in the boxing ring by his east London dad as a boy to “toughen him up”, he studied sports and exercise science at college and university before embarking on a career as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in 2008.

“After several years as a PT, I really wanted to broaden my horizons,” he said. “So in the mornings, evenings and at weekends I continued to train clients, while also holding down nine-to-five jobs. For me, personally, that was also an insurance policy – if you work in a physical job and you get injured, what are you going to do? 

I deliberately sought sales and marketing roles because those skills are transferable back into the fitness sector, a lot of which is about online presence now.”

While Danny now works full-time for Third Space, that previous experience afforded him a particular level of insight into corporate life and how exercise fits into it, having spent two years working for KPMG in Canary Wharf. 

Danny says carving out an hour is vital
Danny says carving out an hour is vital – image James Perrin

PRIORITIES

“The most important thing for people to do is to make sure going to the gym works around their schedule, but at the same time to be flexible enough to prioritise their training,” he said.

“If you’re really busy and literally don’t have any spare time, then you need that discipline to carve out a regular one-hour time-slot in the same diary you use for work.

“You need to see it as a non-negotiable meeting you have to attend. You could argue it’s the most important one in terms of your own positivity.

“People are often happy to prioritise deadlines at work, but they often neglect themselves.

“If they’re able to look after their own health and fitness, they’re much more likely to hit other deadlines and the process will be a lot more enjoyable because they’ll be approaching everything with a positive mindset.”

BREADTH

As many people go back to the office and people’s lives return to pre-pandemic rhythms, Danny said well-equipped and organised gyms offered a potent alternative to working out alone at home.

“One of the things Third Space offers is the variety of its classes and, in terms of the equipment available, it has everything you could think of all under one roof,” he said.

“In terms of classes, you’ve got the mind and body workshops, which are good for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

“Then you’ve got the HIIT classes, which are a lot of fun and the strength-related classes, which are good for people who want to build muscular power.

“You’ve got The Yard, which is the biggest functional training space in London, a huge selection of exercise machines and weights and brilliant studios that are incredibly atmospheric to train in.

“Then, on top of that, there’s a climbing wall, saunas, steam rooms, a swimming pool and other things like the Powerplates where people can come and do low-intensity exercise that gets transformed into something really worthwhile.

“That’s a real contrast to doing boring home workouts where it’s burpee after burpee.”

Third Space's facilities include a combat area
Third Space’s facilities include a combat area – image James Perrin

INCLUSIVITY

“We design our classes to be suitable for every level from complete beginners to seasoned athletes, by giving multiple options and pushing the culture that you don’t have to hit certain targets,” said Danny.

“Instead, as long as you achieve what you are comfortable with, that’s what matters. Music is very important too.

“People probably take it for granted that there’s a certain beat when they first come in – it will have that feel-good factor and a bit of energy in the room.

“Then we start the session, which is supposed to be thought-provoking so we’ll have ambient sounds and dim the lights to get everyone in the right physical and mental zone.

“Throughout the session people can expect epic lights and music plus fun and friendly chat from the instructors to help keep everyone motivated and take away the pain.

“It’s important for them to be enjoyable because as well as the physical benefits, it’s about the mental benefits of turning up and having a good time.

“People come to realise how valuable getting away from their desks and having a release is. Not everyone wants to be pushed to their absolute limits.

“Some want to come in, have a good workout and not feel like they’re dying. But it works for those who do want to push themselves. 

“It’s being in an inclusive environment where everyone can train at their own level next to each other.”

STARTING

Danny said, for people completely new to exercise, the key thing initially was getting into good habits early.

“For people in that position, one of the things to think about is why they didn’t go to a gym before,” he said. “A lot of that may come down to the fear and intimidation of thinking that everyone’s got to be super fit and it wouldn’t be for them. But it’s not like that.

“First of all, people should focus on turning up, because that’s something to celebrate – just building exercise into their lifestyle is the important thing.

“For the first two to six months, their mindset should be: ‘I’m just going to go’.

“Nobody should be putting pressure on themselves to get an eight-pack or huge biceps – they should be celebrating having the motivation and dedication to show up on a regular basis. In the long run, that’s what’s going to keep them healthy and fit throughout their lives.”

Exercise should be about positivity and enjoyment
Exercise should be about positivity and enjoyment – image James Perrin

EVERYWHERE

Having developed an extensive online offering, Danny said Third Space was also well-placed to offer members a balance of on-site services and at-home expertise.

“What’s interesting and not much discussed is that it’s great to have a healthy mix of home and gym workouts to suit your routine,” he said. 

“Personal trainers are aware of this and may well prescribe certain sessions  to do that will be helpful in terms of technique if people can’t get to the gym because of their schedule.”

Membership at Third Space Canary Wharf cost £170 per month, which works out at £5.59 a day.

The company is currently waiving its joining fee and offering new members a free meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first Third Space Spa treatment and two guest passes.

Readers can follow Danny on Instagram here.

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Stratford: Haugen opens its doors at The Pavilion in Endeavour Square

D&D London chairman and CEO Des Gunewardena tells us all about the new restaurant, cafe and bar

D&D London chairman and CEO Des Gunewardena
D&D London chairman and CEO Des Gunewardena

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Look at the cranes poking up behind The Pavilion at International Quarter London’s Endeavour Square in Stratford.

They, and the structures emerging from the top of its wooden ripples, herald the concrete arrival of nearby East Bank.  

They mean the BBC, Sadler’s Wells, the V&A, UCL and UAL are all on their way to east London and that’s just one of the reasons that Des Gunewardena sounds so cheerful on the phone.

While I couldn’t see the chairman and CEO of restaurant group D&D London during our chat, his voice held an easy, upbeat tone and no wonder.

The company he runs, which operates more than 40 venues in the capital and overseas, has just opened Haugen.

Spread across all three floors of The Pavilion, it stands on the main path from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Westfield Stratford City and, crucially, the area’s multiple stations.

That also puts it squarely on the route not only for West Ham’s regular influx of fans, but also the forthcoming footfall for East Bank

It’s a fair bet the inhabitants of its arts and educational establishments will need a decent place to unwind and that’s what Des and his team aim to provide. 

The Pavilion sits in Stratford's Endeavour Square
The Pavilion sits in Stratford’s Endeavour Square

“Firstly, it’s in an amazing building, so hats off to Lendlease – the developer – for building it,” he said. “They approached D&D about doing restaurants in it, because they know we take  on madly big and crazy spaces, so we were perfect for The Pavilion.

“It’s a very bold design – when I first saw it, I thought that it was a real statement and the thing about that is it has to be good, otherwise people will hate it.

“They worked with Acme, who are top-class architects and really know what they are doing. They’ve created a very beautiful building, with all the curved wood and the glass – it is a total eye-catcher.

“When people first saw the building, I don’t think they knew what it was – whether it was  going to be a museum or a gallery?

“It has that central staircase and looks terribly grand for housing restaurants, cafes and bars.

“People asked me if it was going to be a Japanese restaurant, because it looked like a great pavilion from Kyoto.”

Spurred on from the success of its German Gymnasium in King’s Cross, however, D&D had other ideas for the space.

“The reason we’ve created the restaurant we have is because we felt the building looked like a beautiful modern chalet in Switzerland,” said Des.

“We’ve had big success with German Gymnasium so we wanted to do a bit of a variant on that. The food at Haugen is Swiss Alpine so you’ve got your raclettes, your tartiflettes and your fondues – those are the things that are flying out of the kitchen at the moment.

“We wanted to create the feeling of being in a restaurant in a ski resort – imagine coming inside from a windswept Stratford to open fires, wood and warm lighting and cosy furnishings.”

Haugen features a rooftop bar area
Haugen features a rooftop bar area

Haugen, which turns out to be a Norwegian word meaning ‘mound’, boasts a cafe-brasserie on its ground floor and a rooftop bar, sculpted to form an amphitheatre overlooking the square below with a second space open to East Bank and the park beyond. 

The restaurant proper – located on the first floor of the building and accessible by lift for those who don’t fancy climbing the stairs outside, is set to open on November 1.

Prior to that happening, diners can get a feel for things in the brasserie with two courses for £14.50 or three for £18.50 via a set menu that features dishes including truffled potato soup, Tiroler Wurstsalat with pork sausage and Emmental cheese, Alpine meatballs with raclette and Vegan schnitzel club roll with red pepper hummus.

The a la carte menu is heavy on the cheese, sausage and schnitzel options too, with numerous sharing options including a butcher’s platter of pork, chicken, bratwurst, red cabbage and potato dumplings. 

Mains are typically around the £20 mark and there is plenty of cake, gateau, torte and strudel to finish for about £7.

“Haugen is a bit of a guilty pleasure type restaurant in terms of the food,” said Des.

“Most people manage their food on the basis of what they eat the whole week, so occasionally you can go and have a lovely bottle of wine and a good old tartiflette, which is really good value at £12.50.

“I don’t honestly know if Germanic food is having a moment – we don’t really follow trends. We have the German Gymnasium and that’s very successful and we recently opened a restaurant in Bristol called Klosterhaus, which also serves Germanic food and that’s doing pretty well too.

“There are certainly more men and women drinking steins of beer in the places we run. Our main concern is doing things we think will be fun and that are going to work.”

While the longer-term future of Stratford looks bright with the influx of businesses, cultural institutions and housing developments ensuring the area will only become busier, it’s a short term shortage that has delayed Haugen’s full launch.

“As a business we’re struggling with staff,” said Des. “We’re currently employing about 1,700 people across London, but we are desperately short. 

“For Haugen it suited us to open the brasserie and the rooftop bar to get the kitchen and the front-of-house team working so we can fully open in November.

“The problem for us is you can’t take young kids off the street and have them serve customers who are spending £100 a head on dinner. They want people who know what they’re talking about in terms of wine, food and so on.

“The Government’s view is that we should just suck it up, pay everyone a bit more money and they’ll all come – that’s like a Sixth Form economic theory response in practice.

“Right now, for the skilled and semi-skilled jobs, particularly in the kitchen, the staff are not there. It’s not an easy issue to resolve, but provided we have control over immigration, why would we not want to ease up on visas and get more people in to work to help the economy, the NHS and the care sector?

“We are working almost day and night on initiatives to get more people into our industry, our business – those who were working in other sectors or different kinds of restaurants and that’s how we are addressing the problem at least for ourselves.” 

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Isle Of Dogs: London Horror Festival shows set to appear at The Space for the first time

The former church will host as series of productions as part of the 2021 festival from October 19-31

Birdwatching is set in a bitterly cold forest
Birdwatching is set in a bitterly cold forest
BIRDWATCHING
Miranda Barrett’s new one act play sees three young people engaged in making a horror film in the middle of a bitterly cold forest. Expect creeping dread punctuated by moments of terror as old hates and fears are laid bare as the light starts to die. 
Oct 22-24, times vary, £15
Livestream Oct 24, £10

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For those who enjoy the tingle of fear creeping up their spinal columns, there can be few places better to watch a chiller unfold than in the shadowy confines of a 162-year-old former church. 

So devotees of the sinister, rejoice –  for the first time in its 11-year history, a serious slice of the London Horror Festival, is set to carve up the foul and fetid air at The Space arts centre. Seven shows will grace the stage at the Isle Of Dogs venue from October 19-31, with many also livestreamed on specific dates. 

The Space’s artistic director Adam Hemming said: “This is the first year we’ve been involved and we’re very excited to be hosting these shows.

“We’ve been programming a bit of horror here and there for a while, so the venue is quite well set up for spooky shows.

“It’s a really mixed bag of work – what I really love about the festival is the different ways the artists involved are telling these stories.

“There are some pieces of new writing, there’s an LGBTQIA+ play, there’s a cabaret night and there are some one-person shows and an interactive piece by someone who works in gaming and has created an immersive work and then there’s a musical.

“One of the highlights will be the first show on the bill, One Man Poe is by an actor – Stephen Smith – who did The Black Cat earlier this year when we were still in lockdown and we couldn’t have audiences.

“He performed the play on Zoom, essentially as a one-shot film that followed him round the entire venue. He’s an incredible performer.

“The fact he’s doing four Edgar Allan Poe stories in one evening for this performance is going to be pretty extraordinary. 

“We’ve been livestreaming since the beginning of the year and we’ve seen some of the work produced this way nominated for awards so we’ve got really good at it. If you’re not able to get to The Space, it’s a really great option. It also means we can make the productions available for longer for people to access.”

The festival’s other productions will be performed at The Pleasance theatre in Islington.

Look out for these shows at The Space

Stephen Smith starts in One Man Poe
Stephen Smith starts in One Man Poe
ONE MAN POE 
Stephen Smith faithfully brings four of gothic horror godfather Edgar Allan Poe's tales to life using the original text from the 1840s. An insane asylum inmate describes a murder he has just committed, a prisoner undergoes torture in the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition, a mad alcoholic shares his story and a man laments the loss of his lover when a raven visits his chamber.
Oct 29-31, times vary, £15
Nightmares is a horror musical to watch online
Nightmares is a horror musical to watch online
NIGHTMARES

This online watch-party allows audience members to gather virtually for a horror musical that tells the story of a man plagued by nightmares and visions who wakes with no memory of who he is or what he’s done. Nothing is what it seems and, naturally, there’s a corpse in the cellar. 
Oct 28, 6pm, £10
Expect magic, drugs and wolves in To Be A Bat
Expect magic, drugs and wolves in To Be A Bat
TO BE A BAT
This new play explores the unreality of magic, corrosive grief and a queer coming of age fractured by loss as Moi seeks to deal with the death of brother Jo through virtual modelling, drugs and consultation with a sometimes-wolf in a cemetery. 
Oct 29-31, times vary, £15
Livestream Oct 31, £10
Can you stop this happening?
Can you stop this happening?
STOP IT
This immersive experience was once a kids’ show that’s lost its nature to the decay of time. Via endless performances to dust and cobwebs the actors have gone mad, their minds tortured by nonsensical cues. Audience members are simply challenged to put a stop to it. 
Oct 29-31, times vary, £15
Glamour and creepy burlesque await
Glamour and creepy burlesque await
TALES OF THE CRYPT CABARET
Glamorous ghouls, creepy burlesque and art performance – what’s not to like? See Marquissa Darq disappear into a melting pot of plastic surgery, Gypsy Viva hiding a dark secret, Foxy Velour who isn’t what she seems and Lady Lazarus. Expect puppetry, nudity, videography and live acts. 
Oct 26-28, 8pm, £15
Livestream Oct 28, £10
James Swanton stars in Irving Undead
James Swanton stars in Irving Undead
IRVING UNDEAD
Join Henry Irving’s restless spirit as he tells the story of how he transformed himself from a stuttering, spindly country boy into the most formidable actor of the 19th century. This resurrection of the greatest horror star of his day comes from actor James Swanton – the story of a man unable to escape his monsters even in death.
Oct 22-24, times vary, £15

Livestream Oct 24, £10

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West India Quay: London: Port City exhibition set to tell the story of the docks

The Museum Of London’s multi-sensory display is created using the Port Of London Authority archive

Co-curator Claire Dobbin helped put the exhibition together
Co-curator Claire Dobbin helped put the exhibition together

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Vibrant colour, sounds, sights and smells will fill the major exhibition space at Musuem Of London Docklands when it opens its doors to visitors again on October 22.

Inside, the freshly joined pine of packing crates, resplendent in blues, reds and printed with photos, house the cargo of London: Port City and are set to tease and provoke the eyes of viewers as they explore the displays. 

Held in partnership with the Port Of London Authority (PLA), the exhibition is both a look into the past and a snapshot of the present, as it explores the impact that the arrival and departure of cargo has had on the capital since 1800.

Taking the era when the building that houses the museum itself would first have been used as a warehouse as its starting point, the display draws heavily on the PLA’s vast archive and includes 222 objects that make up an interactive timeline, revealing stories of smuggling and infrastructure. 

“The museum has been managing the archive for quite some time and there are some small aspects of it already on display there, but this is the first time it has been mined to this extent,” said co-curator Claire Dobbin.

“The port and its impact on London is massive – not just historically, but today. 

“Handling over 50million tonnes of cargo a year, from our morning coffee to the clothes we wear and materials for the buildings we live and work in, it plays a vital role in our daily lives and national economy.

“It’s moved down river – and for many of us out of sight – but the port is still very much part of London. Our riverside cityscapes are also peppered with echoes of its history in its architecture and street names.

“Our cultural landscape too has been shaped by centuries of global exchange – by people, products and ideas passing through the port. 

“This influenced and enriched language, diversity and communities that underpin the city we know today.”

A railway carriage leaves for Africa from Royal Albert Dock in 1947 – image PLA Collection/Museum Of London Docklands

Inside the exhibition, visitors will see archive photography and video, hear oral history recordings – first-hand accounts of life on the docks – and even be able to smell the odours of some of the cargoes received by the port.

“We didn’t want it to be a chronological display – that would have been too dry,” said Claire. “Instead we’ve aimed for something more interactive, so that people can connect with things.

“Everybody who comes will connect in some way, because they are here in this building. Many will come who are from the area and know some of the stories very well. We hope everyone will find some relevance in the displays.

“We knew we wanted to focus on the impact of the port on different communities in London and also the lived experience of the people working on the docks.

“For that we’ve drawn a lot on the oral history collections, which are fantastic. There are voices as well – two sections where you hear lived experiences and little anecdotes. The oral histories were done in the 1980s, so some people talk about the beginning of the 20th century, and it’s amazing to hear that first-hand. 

“This exhibition has been a real team effort – staff at the museum have spent huge amounts of time going through the archives both physical and digital to select exhibits.”

The PLA itself was created in 1909 to take over the running of the Port Of London from myriad rival private companies that built enclosed dock systems throughout the 19th century as an alternative to the comparatively poor security of the Pool Of London’s wharves.

“Because we’re covering the period from 1800, the team has been trawling through huge amounts of material such as minute books from the companies that pre-date the PLA,” said Claire.

“The wonderful thing about archives and documentation is that what they captured is what needed to be minuted at the time – what was important to that company in that meeting. It’s a different perspective.

“The real beauty of an archive exhibition is the bringing together of a range of different material.

“For example, we have a diving helmet in the exhibition, which we wanted to show, but equally wanted to bring to life, and we were able to find a film of people using the equipment.

“Honestly I could only watch it once as the thought of being under the Thames even with modern gear gives me nightmares.

“Then you have documents – we have one of the ledgers from 100 years ago showing the offloading – exactly what was coming in.

“Samples would be taken to document the quality so we’ve got some sample pots of spices and other commodities. 

“What comes through in the oral histories is that working on the docks was a sensory experience, quite a harsh environment.

“People would say you could tell where you were in Docklands by the smell of the warehouses.

“We wanted to recreate a sense of that as well as what things looked like, so there are various smells people can experience.”

A group of young Asian men on board a ship in 1908 – image PLA Collection/Museum Of London Docklands

The exhibition is also about the titanic enterprise that is the modern operation of the PLA.

“Right from the beginning we wanted to bring the docks to life and that means the current practice of the port, which is very much hidden from central London,” said Claire.

“I didn’t know much about it at all, when we started this project – I probably knew more about the historical docks than I did about the current operation and the impact it has on our lives. So we wanted the exhibition to be three-dimensional, to show the scale and dynamism of the PLA today.

“The design is a big part of the exhibition, with lots of interaction, but we wanted to get lots of hard facts in as well. I hope visitors will be interested to learn more about where they live and work and that they see the area through new eyes on leaving.”

Laid out thematically, highlights include the opportunity to discover the stories behind 80 words, phrases and place names that have their origins in the Port Of London with a focus on the its relationship to the slave and sugar trades, including a document commemorating the unveiling of the statue of slave owner and merchant Robert Milligan, which was removed from outside the museum in 2020 in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. 

The exhibition will also feature Trade Winds: London a new work by artist Susan Stockwell using archive material to explore trade, economics, migration and empire.

London: Port City runs until May 8, 2022.

Entry is completely free although tickets should be booked online. Donations to the museum are welcomed.

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Canada Water: London Oktoberfest pitches up in Dock X on the Rotherhithe Peninsula

Event promises to blend German traditions with British atmosphere in an all-weather venue

In previous years London Oktoberfest has been held in tents

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Event venue Dock X is set to reverberate with the sounds of a party that started more than 200 years ago. The Canada Water warehouse space will host London Oktoberfest for three weekends this autumn. 

The tradition has its origins in a wedding party held in 1810 for the crown prince of Bavaria (who later became King Ludwig I), which lasted five days culminating in a horse race. Having got a taste for celebration, the following year an agricultural fair was tagged on with food and drink stalls for visitors.

By the 20th century these had become vast beer halls with each local brewery hosting up to 6,000 people a day over the last two weeks in September.  

Its something former banker Carsten Raun knows all about. It’s a tradition he’s successfully been bringing to London since 2011.

“It’s the 10th anniversary since we first brought the authentic Oktoberfest to London, which is a celebration in itself,” he said. 

“First of all, we’ll have the original beer and sausage from Germany, just as we always have, despite Brexit. The mood in the hall is always fantastic with live oompah music.

“The Brits and Germans share a love of beer, it’s a common theme between the two countries – we brought it to London and found people really love it. The German traditions and the British attitude fit together perfectly.

“This time we have some different ideas too. Dock X is a new venue for us and it means the weather won’t affect the event.

“In many ways it’s like the tents in Munich which are really permanent structures laid out like beer halls.

“There is no Oktoberfest there this year because they’ve decided it’s not the right time to hold an event that sees six million people come from all around the world. 

“We can do this in London because it is a local event with a capacity of 1,500 people and we’ll be following all of the government rules with hand sanitising available throughout the venue.”

Dancing and singing are encouraged at London Oktoberfest

For those quick off the mark, tickets are still available for the October 1-2 sessions at the Canada Water venue before the event returns to Rotherhithe from November 4-6 and 11-13.

For those prepared to travel to west London, there will be a chance to sup from a stein under canvas when London Oktoberfest pitches its traditional tent for Halloween from October 28-31. 

Those visiting the pop-up in Ealing’s Walpole Park are invited to dress up for a spooky session, with families also welcome on the Sunday.

Carsten said: “In addition to Halloween, we will also be hosting Pink Oktoberfest when we’re back in Canada Water on November 5.

“This started some years ago and now we’re hosting it for the LGBTQIA+ community to show there is some Oktoberfest for everybody – it will be very welcoming.

“While it is a new world since Brexit and the pandemic and it hasn’t been so easy to organise, we have found a way to bring the beer, the food and all our stuff to London.

“It’s something we want to keep doing. For all of our events, I hope people come and experience the same great atmosphere that we always had before Covid. It’s time to raise those steins again.

“It’s so exciting to be coming back to London again and it will be a really wonderful feeling to see people enjoying themselves. 

“We hope that the events we are hosting will act as a second freedom day so that people can have a chance to celebrate.”  

Prices for Oktoberfest start at £5 for general entry, with a multitude of options available including VIP and corporate packages. Dock X is located within easy walking distance of Canada Water station.

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