Wandering around the East End and finding the SS Great Eastern

(That’s a long title…)

London used to be big on ships. Long before Rotterdam took over the world of docks in Europe (anyone feel that Heathrow is going to loose its crown in a similar way) and so it was also a major place to build ships. In the time when London had industry, oooh, about two centuries ago. Well, wallowing, as we like to, in our past, I stumbled across the place where the SS Great Eastern was built yesterday.

Now, if you want to know what the SS Great Eastern was, well, it was the biggest ship of its time.

And it produced one of the most iconic photos of Victorian Era. That of Brunel standing in front of its massive chains:

But onto the site where it was built, still preserved on the Isle of Dogs today. Nothing more than a pit with some timber struts surrounded by lots of luxury flats. Pretty much the fate of Docklands. However, it is a fascinating place to wander around, and to think, at the time, the largest ship in the world was constructed here, in London…

I was with a friend at the time, and sometimes, I forget how much I miss East London. I may sound a little sarcastic about the redevelopment of this part of london, but it is a fascinating place, where the old industrial part of the city combines with the new outlook that we are taking t the moment. There, economics and architecture in a paragraph – impressive!

One thing that was interesting was to look across the river. On the southern side of the Thames, there are still a few pockets of riverside that have not yet been converted to luxury flats. But recession or none, new buildings are popping up. Bankers have bonuses to spend and more importantly, there is always money to be made. So you know what they are going to build in this part of London once these buildings come tumbling down.

This part of the Isle of Dogs is pretty nice, and one of the reasons is the view of the river. The Thames is, well, pretty. Despite the clouds, it is nice to see the landscape of the city, and the fact that it is still changing. A few years ago, you would not see what you see now, and it will change in a few years. Okay, London is not bring rebuilt at a Shanghai style pace, but still, for an economy that is (or has) going (gone) down the drain, someone is making cash…(oh, that political angle, I cannot resist)

Right, just a little wander. I have not done one of those in ages!


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Filed under london, places, travel

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