I did not really know what to expect when I decided to explore Wapping. I approached from the North, from Aldgate, and I think this London street scene captured on my phone summed up what I thought that I was going to continue to see. I could not have been more wrong.
|Aproaching from the North, a short distance to the South of this bridge carrying the Fenchurch Street line lies Wapping|
|The western end of Wapping High Street - across the road apartment blocks with ground floor estate agents. (Shot on film)|
|I had probably checked out 5 estate agent windows before finding a downbeat convenience store (Shot on my phone)|
|The ubiquitous Foxtons - a cross between a call centre and a car showroom devoid of cars.|
|Wapping Pierhead - maybe the most desirable part of Wapping, if scenic architecture and riverside pubs generate desire|
|Towards the Eastern End, developed warehouses line Wapping High Street. (Shot on film)|
|The Town of Ramsgate pub. I rather liked the look of the bar and the menu was certainly not over-priced..|
|Pierhead Wharf - few real wharves remain but that does not prevent developed warehouses from hijacking the name. (Shot on film)|
|The missing link - the arrival of the London Overground station will have perked up property prices even more|
And let us not forget that Wapping is on the River Thames.
|Walk to Tower Bridge and your City office past these glassy apartment developments. (Shot on film)|
|One part of Old Wapping still in place is the Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit (Shot on film)|
|The same land - the 'affordable housing' squeezed onto this patch of land will be part of a redevelopment of King Henry's Wharf, Phoenix Wharf and Swan Wharf, all riverside buildings that will contain expensive warehouse apartments. (Shot on film)|
|The White Swan and Cuckoo pub - just North of Wapping overground station, it seemed a real East End pub and suddenly marked a transition to the Wapping of a different character. (Shot on film)|
|Chancellor House - Washing hung out to dry on the balconies means that Tower Hamlets local authority housing holds sway as one moves North East from the river (Shot on film)|
|More typical East End council flats. (Shot on film)|
|The 'Ornamental Canal' is bounded by private developments with Park Vista Tower at the head. A single roomed studio flat in that tower costs about £400,000.|
|The Wapping Sourdough bakery - re-purposing of a public toilet block maybe? Now convenient for the folks living in nearby St Katharine Dock to get their daily bread.|
|As the sun sets, the view along The Ornamental Canal in Wapping towards The Shard and Tower Bridge|
|Another view to The Shard at dusk|
The lack of people on the streets themselves was interesting, highlighting this as an area populated by people who are out at work, or home at work. When I did see large numbers of people they were primarily Moslem groups of children with mothers, probably of Bangladeshi origin, and with the time at about 4pm, I guess they were walking home from Hermitage Primary School in the South West of Wapping to their homes to the North East in or near Shadwell. I hope they do not give the citizens of Presidents Drive palpitations every day as they walk near to their homes.
I walked by the school but did not photograph it. It's ranked 'good' by Ofsted but I can tell you that those who live in the high end housing around the school do not send their children there. How do I know this? Well at the time of writing the school's website outlines that in terms of ethnicity, the largest group is Bangladeshi (65.6%) and the next is white British (7.3%). In Wapping as a whole however the Bangladeshi community is only about 10%. What a shame that the school is ignored by the majority of the local population who must feel so insecure of their children's success that they feel they have no choice but to bankroll them through education.
Some of these and other images may be found at my London East End photo gallery.