Another walk through Poplar, away from the more historic High Street, beginning with East India Docks Rd and heading to St Paul’s Way. I love this village, suburb, piece of London though it is new to me. Turning right on Kerbey Street I passed the Salvation Army Hall (and the Salvation Army has been a fixture of East End life since it’s beginnings 150 years ago) and this pretty awesome ‘selfie post’:
The view to the south:
It saddens me, that everywhere Canary Wharf looms over you.
Makes me happy that there is still so much council housing, though how much is ‘genuinely affordable’ social housing I do not know. I still feel we know more now, can design better housing and community now, but I will defend this to the last until that commitment is made, is built.
Still, it is a relief to come to the open piece of green that is Bartlett Park after so much concrete — even though it is railed in — to find boys playing cricket and football fields and one last building left from earlier days covered over with vines (and seriously un-photogenic due to the street works taking place, so in possible violation of the dérive principle, it does not feature here).
But I wondered at the multi-storey towers, they appeared to be that cheap brand of luxury housing mushrooming along the rivers and canals so I couldn’t understand what they were doing there in all of their massive garishness and glass:
I shortly arrived here, and all of my wonderings were answered — I hadn’t realised I was approaching the Limehouse Cut. I get a little fucking angry, though, that these buildings should cut through and haughtily rise above our neighbourhoods, transforming the feel of the canals I love without providing the housing we so desperately need.
It is the shoddy arrogance of today’s wealth staring down in comfort, a sneer at inequality written across the horizon.
Despite this, the canal still has some of its old magic, in the form of old warehouses in brick and personal expression spray-painted across its walls:
Remnants of the past still linger on, making you positively nostalgic and I don’t want to be nostalgic. I want to look forward to our future and a better world, rather than back.
In spite of everything, a vibrant diversity still clings on to life here.
I got nostalgic again leaving this old brick for this shiny new school:
Researching its shininess further I found this from their website:
A major new programme to help children learn enterprise and employability skills will be launched at St Paul’s Way Trust School in January 2015.
A very generous grant from J P Morgan to the school, in association with St Paul’s Way Community Interest Company, will support students to develop their own business ideas, and turn their plans into real community enterprises. The grant will also support the school to develop a more comprehensive work experience programme, meaning that every student will have opportunities to learn about work which is tailored to their hopes for the future.
It chills me that they are offering a life geared towards work to our children, rather than inspiration and creativity to encourage a curiosity about our world and the knowledge of how to explore it in ways unlimited by the need to profit.
Obviously Canary Wharf looms over people’s lives in more ways than one.
Their estates that are being decanted.
Their churches and community centres:
I had begun this walk with the intention of finding Paper & Cup‘s St Paul’s Way Centre cafe, but realised I didn’t have time to stop, so I completed the loop back down to the Westferry DLR. It was nice to see Mile End Park, but it lies on the other side of the massive Burdett Road full of traffic and fumes, scary to cross.
I walked back down it, but didn’t have much heart for pictures. Only this little park full of crocuses and snowdrops and a lost section of row housing that reminds you that you are human:
Soon there will be daffodils.