Hi there! So here’s a little post for the week! This one is a little different because I’m adding a paper I wrote for my History class. We were tasked with a psychogeography walk. We went back to one of our favorite places that we toured throughout the semester and write a paper on our experience. We were supposed to take in our surroundings and reflect on the experience. So here it is!
Canary Wharf is a beautiful area of London. Once home to one of the docks in the Port of London, it was a bustling area for trade. Items from around the world would make its way into London through the docks. Trade on the Thames extends back to when the Romans established London. At one point the Port of London was the biggest port in the world. But the port itself began to decline in the late 20th century. It officially closed in 1981, leaving the massive space the docks consumed completely empty. Then it became a space for major renovation. Then the docks themselves began to be rebuilt into office buildings. There was some major issues with the construction where the buildings were being built faster than they could fill them. But despite these problems, Canary Wharf itself is thriving to this day.
I chose Canary Wharf because I grew up around the water and I have always enjoyed docks and anything water related. I am always very interested in the way trade works in maritime trade. So it was very interesting to see what Canary Wharf looks like after writing the long paper.
I arrived at the Canary Wharf tube station in the mid afternoon. When I first went there it was late afternoon into rush hour. It was very different to see during the mid afternoon. There was definitely less people around. I came up from the tube station on the opposite side, away from the Dockland Light Railway station. I decided to walk around to that side of the station to start off my walk. I found this beautiful garden between the station and the mall that is underground. It was so pretty! The fountains broke up the street noise that was bouncing off the building walls. There were tons of benches around. I did notice that this space was used for breaks. It seemed like the people were either walking to a meeting or sitting on the benches on their phone or smoking. There weren’t many people taking in their surroundings.
Then I was in the square that is just outside of the station. There were Stanstander bikes for rent. Those were mainly rented out. But there weren’t as many people outside the station as I thought there would be. It seemed like since this was a very dense space with lots of buildings, that there would be plenty of people out and about. Then I took a right and walked along the water’s edge underneath the DLR bridge. I thought it was really cool that the track runs through the building. There was a low rumble as the train went by that echoed between the buildings.
I walked down what used to be the dock. I could imagine the massive ships that once docked in the great Port that was London. The water was to my left and there were some cafes to my right. To my surprise there were very little people actually in them so it looked like all of them were closed. It was such a nice day so I was really surprised that no one was sitting by the water having a meal or even a few drinks. I continued along and made my way to the end of the dock. From there the path ended and I took right, but first a stop to admire the south side of the city from across the river. I never really noticed how far away Canary Wharf is across the river. The buildings looked very far away. The It was definitely very pretty to see. I continued along the water up across to Canada Square.
I went the left away from the square and then turned right along the next street. I continued up a few blocks taking in the massive heights of the buildings around me. It was definitely different because around Kensington the buildings themselves are only 5 stories maximum. These were 20 to 30 stories high. After walking a few blocks I decided to continue on and turn right then continued along down to another section of water. Here there was a big construction project going on. The structure was built into the water and the foundation was being laid underneath the water line. It was very interesting to see because the project was just starting out so Canary Wharf is still changing even though a lot of it has been developed.
I noticed too as I walked along that everyone really seemed to be in a rush. Not a lot of people were taking their time to take in their surroundings. The buildings around them are incredible feats of engineering.
I felt like an ant compared to the size of these buildings. Canary Wharf feels very clean. The lines from the building create patterns that shoot into the sky. The skyline itself draws a line across the sky with different heights and widths. I really enjoyed this experience, it was very interesting to walk around without technology to keep me distracted. I was afraid that I would get lost but I actually found my way around very easily. I definitely will continue to walk around and take in the sights of what’s around me before I look at my phone. It’s hard to not be glued to your phone but I will make a conscientious effort look around.