Sunday, December 13, 2015

Photos from Greenland Pier

A couple of pics taken in bright sunshine against an ominous sky last Monday 7th on Greenland Pier.  A remarkable contrast of lights and colours.  The red derrick is in Rotherhithe, and under threat of demolition, and the other photos are of course Canary Wharf.








Friday, December 11, 2015

Graffiti on the Michael Rizzello sculpture at the top of Stave Hill

Graffiti is amongst the crudest of all forms of self expression, and being anonymous is always an act of the weak-minded.  It is not the first time that the Michael Rizzello sculpture has been smeared with graffiti, although heaven knows why, as it is not a political monument.

For those unfamiliar with it, it is a horizontal relief sculpture showing the layout of the docks in 1896, the year that the Commercial Dock Company and the Surrey Grand Canal and Docks Company amalgamated to become the Surrey Commercial Dock Company.  It was made by Michael Rizzello O.B.E. in 1989, and was commissioned by the London Dockland Development Corporation. A bas-relief, it is made of bronze and is mounted on a granite base.  One of the charms of the map is that when there has been rainfall each of the docks and channels fills with rainfall. Each of the docks is clearly labeled so if you know where Greenland Dock and South Dock are located in the real world it becomes quite easy to use the Stave Hill map to locate where other docks and ponds would have been. I can lose track of time looking at it because the detail is so fascinating.

The graffiti states "you're a slave to all of this." To what, precisely?  To the ecological park, to the woodland, to the wildlife that lives there?  A different message was painted on the plinth in July 2008, but the effect is the same:  ugly defacement of a much-loved local landmark with absolutely no benefit to anyone, least of all the idiot who sprayed it there.

The Chair of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland, Steve Cornish, has written to Southwark Council asking that the graffiti be removed as soon as possible.  In 2008 it took weeks for it to be removed.  Hopefully things have been improved since then.


Online e-book available: The Lure and Lore of London’s River by A.G. Linney

http://www.britishtransporttreasures.com/product/the-lure-and-lore-of-londons-river-by-a-g-linney-sampson-low-marston-co-ltd-nd-but-c-1933-ebook/

Stuart Rankin, who has written many local histories of Rotherhithe, has made the following title available on his website:
The Lure and Lore of London’s River.
By A.G. Linney. Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. c.1933. 
Download price £3.95 (5p per download is made to the Help the Heroes charity).

I have this book.  It took me ages to track down a second hand copy, and it is an absolute delight.  Linney writes in a wonderfully evocative style, bringing all he sees and all his personal encounters to life.

Here's Stuart's description on the British Transport Treasures website:

The Lure and Lore of London’s River. By A.G. Linney. Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. nd. but c.1933. Hardback book black cloth binding, 9”x 6”, pp. 242, full page B&W frontispiece, 47 B&W half tone photos mainly by the author.  Many of the pictures are rather small but  nonetheless full of interest like the Surrey Entrance Lock, pinpointing the site of the old entrance to the Grand Surrey Canal. There are 8 pages of sketch maps showing the reaches of the Thames. Linney has particularly good Chapters on Rotherhithe and Limehouse waterfronts and the tribulations of the Lockmaster at Surrey Entrance Lock in the 1860s. At the time Linney was writing the Thames was beginning to change with more modern industries springing up and spreading down river, but there were still the occasional “tall ships” bringing in cargoes from far away and the river was still thronged with the characteristic Thames sailing barges which could navigate on a length of damp flannel up a myriad of creeks and inlets. He is one of those companionable authors whom I would very much have liked to have met “Lure and Lore” like “Peep Show” has many odd facts and anecdotes which I have not seen elsewhere other than in some more recent publications which obviously got them from these.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mulberry Harbours at Rotherhithe's South Dock in the Second World War

During the Second World War South Dock's lock was badly damaged and could no longer be used for access from the Thames.  As a strategic commercial target the docks had been targeted by German bombers and this was only one of many dock structures to be devastated.  South Dock and Greenland Dock had independent lock entrances because they had been owned by separate dock companies, but when the two docks became part of the same company a cut was created to link the two, so access to South Dock was still possible via the Greenland Dock lock entrance.  However, in 1944 there was a pressing need for dry docks for the construction of Mulberry Harbours, so the decision was made to cut off South Dock from Greenland Dock, to ready it for the construction of concrete sections of Mulberry units for the armed forces. 
Schematic of main components of the
Arromanches Mulberry Harbour, from the
Combined Operations Command website


So what were Mulberry Harbours and why were they so important?  "Mulberries" were designed to meet a logistical problem to an assault on the Normandy beaches that would make a profound difference to the outcome of the war.  In 1942 the British attacked the heavily fortified town of Dieppe and were turned back.  But if British troops were to be landed in France, some part of the French coast would have to be breached, and it was decided that the beaches of Normandy would be the best option.  But there were two problems.  First, any invasion would require huge numbers of men and heavy equipment, and with no infrastructure in place to receive, unload, process and supply the  invasion, and the difficulties inherent in capturing a suitable port posted a potentially massive problem.  Second, troops and supplies were to be landed directly on the beaches but the coastline of Normandy featured long and shallow inclines, meaning that at low tide boats could not approach near enough to the shore to offload their cargoes.  But these was the sort of problems that the armed forces were expert at solving. Churchill had had a similar idea in 1917 to cope with the capture of two islands in the Danish-Dutch seas, but the man usually credited with the idea of the Mulberry Harbours is Hugh Iorys Hughes whose brother Commodore John Hughes-Hallet presented it to the Navy.  Whoever it was who came up with the idea, it was concluded that if a harbour could not be captured, then a harbour should be built, transported and then installed wherever it was needed.  These were the Mulberry Harbours. 



Surviving Phoenix caisson breakwater components
at Arromanches.  Sourced from Wikipedia
Mulberry Harbours were modular units which, when assembled, could be used to create temporary harbours along the Normandy coast.   They consisted of pier-heads (known as "spud-pontoons"), piers ("whales"), inter-linked concrete pontoons "beetles"), caissons to form breakwaters ("phoenixes") and in-shore shelters provided by ships forming a barrier (gooseberries).  There is a brilliant description of how all these elements fit together on Chris Bridges's "Mulberries and Gooseberries" page, together with some super illustrations.  Floating pontoons were placed at 80ft intervals between the pier-head (where boats would dock) and the beach and carried the 80ft-long piers (whales) that formed floating roads that allowed people and cargo to be unloaded onto the shore.  As the tide raised and fell, so too did the floating moorings, allowing ships to moor and offload, even at low tide. 146 caissons were required to form 9.5kms of breakwater to protect both the piers and the ships, each 60 metres long, 18 metres high and 15 metres wide.  The breakwaters formed by Phoenix units, more or less parallel to the piers, and the sheltering barrier of ships called gooseberries formed protecting arms to emulate a true harbour.

 
Diagram showing how the piers were deployed at high and low tides. From
Chris Bridges. Mulberries and Goodberries. http://www.hksw.org/despatches_107_1_a.htm



After various experimental prototypes were tested, two Mulberries were assembled for deployment:  Mulberry A at Omaha beach, and Mulberry B at Arromanches, each with an intended capacity of  7000 tons of vehicles and supplies a day. 

Artist's impression of a Phoenix caisson, showing hw
they were shaped to resemble lighters.
From the war44.com website
Different parts of the Mulberry Harbours were manufactured in different places (much as the Airbus is today), transported to a distribution hub and were later assembled where they were needed.  This was because of the sheer amount of work involved, described evocatively on the Combined Operations Command website"The scale of the project was enormous and was in danger of over-stretching the capacity of the UK's civil engineering industry. From late summer of 1943 onwards three hundred firms were recruited from around the country employing 40,000 to 45,000 personnel at the peak. Men from trades and backgrounds not associated with the construction industry were drafted in and given crash courses appropriate to their work. Their task was to construct 212 caissons ranging from 1672 tons to 6044 tons, 23 pier-heads and 10 miles of floating roadway."   

Phoenix' concrete caissons, part of the Mulberry artificial harbour,
being constructed in Surrey Docks in Rotherhithe, London,
17 April 1944. Imperial War Museum H37607
The component that was manufactured at South Dock was the caisson, or Phoenix, used to form the breakwaters.  The contract for building twelve Phoenix B sections in Rotherhithe was given to John Mowlem, a civil engineering company, in late 1943.   The Phoenix units  were airtight cases made of concrete and steel that were open at the bottom. Although they look fairly boxy, they were shaped at bow and stern ends to resemble barges on the grounds that they would have to be sea-worthy both when being towed and when in position. They were designed to float and were fitted with air-cocks so that they could be lowered evenly to rest on the sea-bed.   Eight were to be built at South Dock, four at Russia Dock (also on Rotherhithe) as well as another six at East India Dock on the north of the Thames.  South Dock was turned into a dry dock by Mowlems, who drained the dock, sealing it with a concrete barrier at the lock and blocking the cut that connected South Dock to Greenland Dock.   The base of the dock was then covered with 6ft of rubble to ready it for the construction of concrete sections of the Mulberry units.  South Dock must have been a strange sight with no water in it.  The above photograph from the Imperial War Museum shows what the units looked like when under construction at South Dock.  It is a truly spectacular scene!  The photo has been taken the eastern edge of Rotherhithe, looking over the Phoenix units towards Greenland Dock, which is still filled with water and has a ship in dock.  The sheer number of cranes that serviced both docks is impressive - many of the crane tracks still exist but there's nothing like seeing a photograph of what it was all like in action.

Surviving Phoenix units at Portland Harbour
On the 17th March 1944 the Phoenix sections under construction at South Dock had all been completed. Steelyard Cut, which still links South Dock with Greenland Dock, was re-opened, the dock was refilled via Greenland Dock, and the Phoenix sections were floated out first through the cut, with only 9 inches of clearance and then out onto the Thames through Greenland Dock's entrance lock, and transported downriver and out to British coastal destinations.  Each was fitted for the journey with a small crew, a temporary cabin and an anti-aircraft gun, which came into use when a German bomber flew low to take a closer look and was fired upon.   Many of the caissons were initially sunk to hide them from German spy planes, and were re-floated, with some difficulty, when ready for deployment in France.  


Mulberry Harbour B.  Photograph from Mulberries and Goosberries by Chris Bridges.


Main Sources:

My brief article has looked at Mulberry Harbours through a Rotherhithe-centric lens, and the main sources for the post are listed here, but if you are interested in Mulberry Harbours and want to find out more, there is a lot more information about them all over the web, and of course in some excellent books about the Second World War. 

And a HUGE thank-you to Michele of the What's On In Rotherhithe Group (http://www.se16-worg.co.uk) for pointing me to the photograph of Phoenix units being built in South Dock.



Planning round-up W/E 6th December 2015

This post, which has updates on the New Southwark Plan Preferred option, the Revised Canada Water Area Action Plan, The Lavender Pumphouse, the Ship York and the South Dock boatyard has been moved onto a website dedicated to SE16 planning issues and can now be found at the following website address:

https://trackerzone.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/planning-round-up-we-6th-december-2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A round-up of planning matters in Rotherhithe peninsula

This post has now moved to its new location on the trackerzone blog about planning and development in SE16.

You can find it here, along with all the previous planning and develoopment posts that have appeared on this blog:

https://trackerzone.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/british-land-walkabout-re-proposals-for-the-new-surrey-quays-shopping-parade
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Update: South Dock development boatyard workshop



This post has now been moved over to my sister planning and development blog at:

https://trackerzone.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/58/

Sustrans Brunel Bridge - News?

I've just seen a link from RotherhitheWhatsOn (on Twitter @WorgInfo) to the Londonist website where five innovative ideas for the future of London are mentioned.  They were apparently discussed in a conference earlier this week.  I did wonder if something about the bridge had been aired recently because a journalist contacted me yesterday to ask if I had an opinion on the subject on the bridge.  The Londonist article (at ) states that Annette Jezierska from Sustrans estimates 30,000 new jobs in Canary Wharf and 20,000 new homes becoming available at Canary Wharf alone and goes on to ask "Canada Water station is already logjammed during peak hours; how on earth is it going to cope with all these new people?"  As the Londonist page says, one of the proposed solutions to the traffic and public transport problems is the Brunel Bridge, which would go from Durand's Wharf on Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf.

Earlier this year Sustrans was given £200,000 to research the proposal in detail but I have not heard of the output from this research project having been published, and without seeing precisely what is being proposed it is a bit difficult to form any sort of opinion about the viability, the logistics and the impacts.

There's a story about it today on The Guardian website:  http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/24/revealed-the-new-thames-bridge-proposal-thats-a-no-brainer 

When anyone hears anything new about the bridge I'd be grateful for any updates.  My email address is in the header at the top of the blog if you would like to get in touch.  

The Brunel Bridge website is at: http://brunelbridge.london/.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Wonderful Rotherhithe Bascule Bridges

Surrey Basin bascule bridge by Rob Noble
Two of Rotherhithe's most distinctive landmarks are its wonderful Scherzer bascule bridges.  Neither of the bridges are functional now, and they have been stripped of their associated paraphernalia, but both are quite remarkable.  Today they are painted red, and look marvellous. Their scale is best appreciated when you stand beneath them - they are truly massive.  One of them crosses the underpass that leads from Greenland Dock to the shopping centre at Canada Water, next to Salter Road, and the other crosses the Surrey Entrance Lock on the opposite site of Rotherhithe, near the Old Salt Quay public house, where it forms a part of Rotherhithe Street.  Although they are very similar, they are not identical.  You can compare them in the photographs below.

Image from Wikipedia - I love it! Every
time I see it, I think that the little car on
the right is going to fall straight in!
http://bit.ly/1SWQY0P
Bascule is the French word for a seesaw or balance. The best know British bascule bridge is Tower Bridge, a rather more massive undertaking than the Rotherhithe one, with two leaves, but following the same principles. Scherzer bascule bridges are lift bridges that roll or rock back on a curved base to rise so that ships can pass beneath, and are often compared to Medieval draw-bridges. They may have one leaf, like the Rotherhithe ones, or two leaves, which open either side of a span and meet in the middle (like Tower Bridge). Scherzer bridges are found all over the world because they have simple mechanisms, open rapidly and have low energy requirements. The bridges consist  of two important components - the length spanning the gap, in the Rotherhithe cases spanning two sections of road, and a counterweight filled with water. It sits on tracks, and electric motors wind the bridge over the tracks with the assistance of cogs and racks that fix it into place at 90 degrees to prevent slippage. They must have been quite something to see when they were working.  In spite of its somewhat Victorian look and engineering here in Rotherhithe and at various other locations in the United Kingdom, the bridge was such a success that it continues, now that the patent has expired, to be a successful engineering solution
 
From HistoricBridges.org
http://bit.ly/1SXTNid
When I first saw them I thought that they probably dated to the late 1800s or early 1900s, because have so much Victorian panache about them.  In fact one was built in the late 1930s and the other was added in 1949, having been moved from Deptford.  But it turns out that I wasn't far from the mark.  The bridges were built to a design by William Donald Scherzer of Chicago, who patented the design in 1893.  Following his death in 1893 the business was taken over by William's younger brother Albert Scherzer and the company successfully preserved its exclusive patented rights to build this particular style of rolling bascule bridge for decades afterwards.  There is a brilliant description of the development of the Scherzer bridge in Chicago in this early 1900s pamphlet by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company:
Starting at a time when engineering in this particular branch of the science was entirely undeveloped and there was little upon which to base our designs, except theory and unbounded faith, we have now the satisfaction of having proven both our theories and our faith, the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge being today universally known as the standard of excellence in bascule bridge design, after a period in modern structural engineering in which the development of the bascule bridge has been one of the noteworthy features. 
It is a basic principle of all great inventions that necessity is the stimulus, and a brief outline of how history repeated itself and necessity brought out the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge is interesting. The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad of Chicago had practically completed all of its other construction without solving the serious problem of earning its tracks over the Chicago River where the limited right of way between the swing bridges at Jackson Boulevard and Van Buren Street precluded the use of a horizontally moving bridge of the required span length, time and money were expended freely in consultation with the most eminent engineers in the country and various solution  were suggested, each, however, developing limitations that made them impractical. Vertically moving bridges in all of the varieties as then known even to a reproduction of the new Tower bridge across the Thames in London were proposed but none was satisfactory in meeting all of the requirements. The management called in William Scherzer of Chicago, a consulting engineer specializing in structural design, and it was his ingenious but practical suggestion that both solved the problem for the railroad and to the science of movable bridge engineering its most important development. It is the irony of fate, too, that death from over-work in concentrating on this very matter should have robbed William Scherzer of the satisfaction of seeing the completion of the structure to which he had given so much of his time and thought, but credit will be given to his name wherever the history of movable bridge engineering shall be written.


Surrey Basin bascule bridge in the 1950s and
2004. From Rankin's Walk A, p.24
At the time of the installation of the bascule bridges in Rotherhithe there were only two ways to leave Rotherhithe by road, and when both bridges were up at the same time, the peninsula became an island and all traffic came to a standstill for as long as it took for ships and smaller vessels to pass.  The sense of being at the mercy of the bridges is captured by the title of F. Mary Wilson's 1960s book Between Bridgers. She says that awaiting the bridger is "a local phrase for the cessation of traffic and pedestrians." Another phrase was catching a bridger, which was used to indicate that someone had been delayed by the raising of the bridge or bridges. Much better than "the dog ate my homework."  The local Rotherhithe fire brigade, at that time located between the two bridges, were not permitted to cross over either in case the fire engines should become trapped on the wrong side of them when the bridges were raised, which would have prevented the engines returning to service in the main Surrey Commercial Docks area in an emergency.  The bridges were also known locally as "the iron bridges."

In London, as in other parts of the UK, the 1930s are known as a period of economic depression, followed immediately by the Second World War. The majority of people working in and around Rotherhithe in the 1930s were working-class families, dock and river workers, struggling with the economic conditions, but there was a brief book in the timber trade and Rotherhithe was one of the principal timber handling dock systems at that time.  In response, the Port of London Authority (PLA) did much to upgrade the docks at this time to improve their prospects, including open-sided timber sheds (principally for the newly desirable plywood), a new general cargo warehouse of 75,000sq ft, and two small timber ponds were amalgamated to form Quebec Dock.  The two bascule bridges were part of this programme of improvement.

Surrey Basin bascule bridge
The Surrey Basin bascule bridge is still in its original position over the lock between the Thames and the Surrey Basin (now known as Surrey Water) next to the Old Salt Quay public house. It replaced a somewhat elderly swing bridge, of which there were several around Rotherhithe, thanks to the crazy mosaic that made up the Surrey Commercial  Docks. The lock is Grade 2 listed (IoE Number: 471266) but the bridge does not appear to be listed. It is Rotherhithe's oldest bascule bridge, 20m long and was built to cross the lock into Surrey Basin, which in turn led into the Surrey Commercial Dock network.  As the smallest of the available locks connecting the docks to the Thames (the biggest lock was the one into Greenland), it mainly handled smaller ships and barges, but was still a very important access point.  The photograph taken shortly after its installation (see above) shows a corrugated iron hut built onto an overhead gantry.  This was the station from which the bridge was operated.  When I first moved into the area it was still possible to drive across it, but it was eventually decided to convert it to pedestrian-only access, which was an excellent decision.  It is a great place to go and have a quiet look at the construction.  The Shadwell Basin bascule bridge (on the north of the Thames) is very similar to Surrey Water bridge, and as both were operated by the Port of London Authority they were probably sourced from the same manufacturer.  The Shadwell bridge was erected during the 1930s by the successful engineering contractors Sir William Arrol and Co., which specialized in rolling lift bridges during the 1930s.  Although the company's origins were in iron working, it became well known for its excellence in steel working, and this skill was used in its build of Southwark Bridge.   The Surrey Basin bridge in articular looks like another Sir William Arrol and Co. bridge, the White Cart Bridge in Glasgow

Greenland Dock bascule bridge
The Greenland Dock bridge that carried Redriff Road over the cut between Greenland Dock and Canada Dock was built in 1949, when it was erected in Deptford to bridge the Deptford Creek.  Ten years later it was moved to Rotherhithe to replace an ageing swing bridge, which had been erected when the cut between the two docks was made in 1904.  It is of a different construction to the Surrey Basin and Shadwell Basin examples, without the extensive metalwork on either side of the roadway.  Instead the water tank is connected directly to the sides of the bridge, with no metalwork above it.  As the Deptford Creek did not come under the authority of the PLA, it is possible that the Greenland Dock bridge could have been made by a different manufacturer. Today the bascule bridge no longer carries the road but sits parallel to it, and is easy to visit and inspect.

It is strange to think that only twenty years later the last ship was leaving Greenland Dock, and that the last wharves closed in the 1980s, but even when the bridges were erected the writing was firmly on the wall.  Stuart Rankin calls the post-war period "a false dawn."  The bascule bridges, so vast and confident, are an admirable monument to both engineering excellence and a complex economic and social past.

Thanks to @RainbowQuay for letting me know that a YouTube video of the Surrey Basin bridge operating, that I knew existed but couldn't find, is now at the following address (and just look at all those umbrellas!):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-G0TgiAljg

The Shadwell Basin bascule bridge, which is
no longer operational. (Shadwell Wikipedia page)



References:

I had the devil's own time finding information about these bridges, so in addition to those credited in the text and captions, my thanks to the following books and sites for information to start me off:

Stuart Rankin, Rotherhithe History Walk A (Southwark Council 2005)
F. Mary Wilson, Between Bridgers (no publisher, late 1960s)
Stuart Rankin, A Short History of the Surrey Commercial Docks, Rotherhithe Local History Paper 6, 1999.
The Adam Hunter pages on www.engineering-timelines.com
Historic Bridges www.historicbridges.org
Archive.org http://bit.ly/1MmZ8x

Photos of other European and American bascule bridges are on Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bascule_bridge




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is it a bird? Is it a crane? No, it's affordable housing.

I've rarely heard anything so thoroughly silly.

Southwark Council are apparently now arguing that restoring the red derrick (crane) on the Thames Path at Odessa Street would take funding away from the provision of affordable housing.  How on earth would the drop-in-the-ocean costs of partially restoring the derrick deprive Rotherhithe of affordable housing??? 

Have your say, and vote on the future of the historic Odessa St crane in the Southwark News survey at



View of Commercial Wharf with the
Scotch derrick in the background,
1982. With thanks to Malcom T.
Tucker for the photograph.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Last day to enter "The Hidden Treasures of SE16" photo competition

Don't forget that Sunday 15th November 2015 is the last day of the photo competition.  If you have a last minute entry, see the competition details here: http://iliveinse16.com/photography/.


Good luck to all entrants!





Project: 30 Years of Urban Ecology at Stave Hill in Docklands


Some truly nice news for a very pleasant change.  The new 30 Years of Urban Ecology at Stave Hill in Docklands project is a really positive one.  Its intentions are detailed below, but in pr├ęcis the project is designed to commemorate the 30 years of the development of Stave Hill Ecological Park by creating a plan of walks that will capture the park through the eyes and ears of local residents, focusing on the site through the seasons.  The results will be published on a website for all to learn from and enjoy.

All the text is provided by the Project organizers.  The pics are mine.



PROJECT SUMMARY

 

We have learned about Stave Hill Ecological Park through collaboration on soundCamp, an ecological and acoustic project which has been based there for two years. This has led to the current proposal for a residency comprising research, outreach and documentation coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Park in 2016.

Stave Hill is the successor to the William Curtis Ecological Park set up by Max Nicholson and the Trust for Urban Ecology (TRUE) in 1976. As such it is a direct continuation of the first urban ecology park in the UK and seemingly the world. Stave Hill was established on derelict former dockland in 1986 and comprises a varied collection of micro-habitats created from scratch on landfill and rubble. Over 30 years it has become a vital green space and a centre for ongoing ecological research and action in an increasingly dense urban area.

There is almost no information available online about this sustained and in many ways unique experiment in environmental, social and personal transformation in the heart of Rotherhithe. To the outsider and to young people it is hard to believe that what appears as a natural landscape has been painstakingly created and maintained, sometimes by the same individuals, over a third of a century. At the same time, the organisation and community sustaining the site has evolved from what appeared initially as a marginal experiment to a case study in community based ecological action. These developments exist as an unofficial history reflected in a living archive of plantings, acquired knowledge and skills, shared experiences of participants, organisational innovations and technical recipes acquired sometimes at great cost - as in the destruction of the site's first interpretation centre by arson.

Our aim is to document this heritage through the eyes and ears of local residents and by focusing on the site through the seasons. We will focus on continuities from the history of TRUE to ongoing work of direct and pressing relevance to how we engage with our common ecological futures. We are equally interested in the seasonal changes and the longer ecological timescales, including cycles of abandonment and re-generation, which give the site much of its value and character.

We propose an extended residency divided into four phases, each linked to a season. Each phase will consist of a preparatory research phase, during which the artists will be working on site. This will lead to a public engagement event, including a walk exploring the site and its environs, and related workshops and activities, together with specific local groups and community based organisations. The outputs of each phase in the form of environmental sound recordings, oral history, texts and images, collected and made by the artists in collaboration with workshop participants, will be archived on a dedicated website and curated in the form of four seasonal walks, each described in a printed booklet and available with additional media online. These will remain as resources for future visitors to explore the area.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

 

WALK ONE
Stave Hill Ecological Park, Russia Dock Woodland, Greenland Dock, Lavender Pond
Date: March 2016 (Spring Equinox) 
These events will take place outside in the Park, starting with a site walk, and around the SHED, with a fire it it's cold.
Our aim is to engage with the site directly, using sound and other time based media to elicit responses. Recorded voices will be situated in the landscape. We will compare the current site to pictures taken at its inception and before [see attached] and consider its future. Aims: 1) To review the history of the site since its creation, via the recollections of local residents and key actors.
Method: We will invite participants to interview and record each other on portable recorders, with people of different ages / generations working together. We will also share audio materials and images from the research phase. 2) To explore these historical materials within wider ecological timefames: circadian and circannual. Method: We will work with artist Ky Lewis to make and put up solargraph cameras around the site, to record the changing path of the sun over periods of up to one year. 
Groups involved: TBC through consultation

WALK TWO:
Stave Hill Ecological Park, Russia Dock Woodland, Greenland Dock, Lavender Pond and Pumphouse
Date: 30APR - 1 MAY
The second walk is a dawn chorus walk, taking place in the context of soundCamp 2016. Many participants will have slept out the night before. They will be joined by others, as in previous years. They will gather at 04.30 and walk in small groups around the site, each group accompanied by an ornithologist. There will be preparation with birdsong ID on Saturday, and a follow-up on Sunday, along with other related activities. Why: Daybreak is unusual because human sounds tend to be low and non human sounds relatively high at this time. As such, daybreak gives a window onto a more biodiverse soundscape than many people have a chance to hear or attend to. Sunday 1st May is International Dawn Chorus Day, when many other people around the world do similar early morning walks. We will also be coming to the end of the 24 hour Reveil radio broadcast, linking ecological and acoustic projects around the world in real time. Method: Soundwalk with supporting workshops and activities, including breakfast. Over the weekend, we will also officially launch the 30th Anniversary year.
Groups involved: TBC through consultation


WALK THREE
A day in the Life of Stave Hill:  Summer Holidays walk and workshop
Date: Summer Holidays
This walk and workshop focuses on the changing soundscape of the Park in the course of the day, and on the sounds and sights of Summer in the Park. 1) Botany and cyanotypes Method We will work with a botanist / ecologist to identify plant communities, and photographer Ky Lewis to capture images of them in situ, in a workshop introducing the Cyanotype process. 2) Unheard sounds of Summer Method We will work with portable recorders and live audio streams to explore the micro acoustics of the site, including classic sounds of Summer such as bees buzzing and crickets creaking. Sound recordings will be archived online and as part of World Listening Day on radioaporee.org. Images will form permanent works on paper including ID information, for long term display on site. Both will feature in devised seasonal walks on paper and online.
Groups involved: TBC through consultation

WALK FOUR:
From the former William Curtis Ecological Park by Tower Bridge, along the Thames, via Stave Hill, to Greenwich
Date: Autumn Half Term
The fourth walk explores The Third Estate: areas of reserve or neglect associated with an increase in biodiversity. We will walk along the river charting fluctuations in the variety and density of sounds, and reviewing their ups and downs over the previous 4 decades, and further into past and future. We aim to experience, elicit and document what can be learned from the interventions of the Trust for Urban Ecology in this area from 1979 to the present, and their implications for the future.
1) The Third Soundscape Method Soundwalk with soundCamp and Jon Best, ecologist. 2) Invisible food Method Wild food foraging in Autumn and outdoors cooking with Invisible Food
Groups involved: TBC through consultation












 





South Dock / St George's Wharf Development - Any Update re November workshop?

This post has now moved to my sister blog, which focuses on planning and development, and can be found at:

http://wp.me/p4saKm-12