“It is not easy to get there. Even the people who live within a mile of it – the people in the noisy, crowded East India dock – have never heard of it.” Evening News, 1930.
Trinity Buoy Wharf is definitely one of our favourite areas of London. During the summer, my boy and I would traipse around immersing ourselves in the multicoloured surroundings, enjoying the slower pace and the tourist-less panorama of London from its banks. I would wonder at the multilayered industrial and social history and try to imagine what life must have been like in London’s ‘lost village’.
Trinity Buoy Wharf lies opposite the O2 arena in an area once known as Bow Creek – basically where the River Lea joins the Thames in East India’s Dock Basin on a stretch of road called Orchard Place.
Between 1820 and 1930, this was home to a thriving village surrounded by industrial factories, boat and shipyards. As the name suggests, this was once where the buoys and markers for the Thames where once made and repaired. Its location made it susceptible to flooding and this ultimately was the cause of Orchard Place’s decline. Isolated, neglected and poor, Orchard place was declared a slum in the 1930s and subsequently cleared. Its was population rehoused in further into Poplar and the remaining dwellings demolished.
Today, Trinity Buoy Wharf is one of London’s most creative hubs. It is also home to London’s only lighthouse and alongside it you can find the former electrician’s Shop, Experimental Lighthouse and the Proving House – where the chains where tested. Alongside the historic buildings there is Container City – a mini tower block of repurposed shipping containers that houses live/work studios and offices. There are galleries, workshops, an American style diner and a fabulously laid back and unpretentious cafe. There is also an old lightship that has been transformed into recording studio.
If you are looking for a spot of adventure to a part of east London less mentioned, we would really recommend taking the DLR to East India and walking here. Trinity Buoy Wharf is the sort of place that rewards the curious mind and eye!
| Links for the curious |
Trinity Buoy Wharf’s website
The fascinating history of Orchard Place