Last year, I had a look around The Forge which is one of the few buildings that survive from the great Victorian shipbuilding industry in Millwall.
If you would like to look inside this fascinating old building it will open during the Open House weekend on the 22nd and 23rd September 2018. Recently the Forge was turned workshops and gallery space for Craft Central.
However, many original features remain and The Friends of Island History Trust will be on hand to explain about the building and the surrounding area.
The Friends of Island History Trust have recently become a recognised charity and will show a variety of images and prints that celebrate the remarkable history of the Isle of Dogs.
Emrys who redesigned the Forge for Craft Central will be exhibiting their innovative designs, shortlisted for several awards and commended for a New London Award.
There will be a Glass at the Forge exhibition with twenty international glass & metal artists in The Gallery.
Darren Appiagyei, one of a new generation of woodturners, will be showcasing a range of his work.
There will also a Pop-up cafe available.
Getting to the Forge
Craft Central at The Forge is a five-minute walk from Mudchute DLR which connects at Canary Wharf with Bank and Stratford. The Forge is close to Masthouse Pier for Thames river bus services from Central London and Greenwich. It is also a short walk from the Greenwich foot tunnel.
After the visit from the Lord Nelson, we have the delight of a visit from her sister ship STS Tenacious. The Tenacious is a wooden sail training ship which was specially designed to be able to accommodate disabled sailors. Launched in Southampton in the year 2000, it is one of the largest wooden tall ships in the world. It is 65 metres long with a beam of 10.6 metres at its widest point.
Photo – Eric Pemberton
The Tenacious and the Lord Nelson are owned by the UK-based charity the Jubilee Sailing Trust who have for many years have pioneered sailing for the disabled. The Jubilee Sailing Trust became a registered charity in 1978 and was the brainchild of Christopher Rudd, a school teacher and sailor who wanted to give the disabled children he taught the same experiences his able-bodied students had.
Photo – Eric Pemberton
Since its launch Tenacious has taken nearly 12,000 people sailing of these 3,000 were physically disabled and 1,000 were wheelchair users.
With the Totally Thames festival in full swing, there are plenty of interest on and near the river, St Katherine’s Dock has a number of historic boats in the dock including the Havengore and Gloriana.
Photo – Eric Pemberton
Many thanks to Eric Pemberton for the photographs of the Tenacious coming into West India Dock.
Regular readers will know that I am fascinated by the Trinity Buoy Wharf area which is one of the most unusual places in London. The area has a fascinating history, The Corporation of Trinity House were a company responsible for buoys, lighthouses and lightships and in the early 19th century established Trinity Buoy Wharf as its Thames-side workshop where wooden buoys and sea marks were made and stored. Eventually new buildings were constructed during the Victorian period including the Electrician’s Building and an Experimental Lighthouse whose roof space housed a workshop for the famous scientist Michael Faraday.
By 1910 Trinity Buoy Wharf was a major local employer, with over 150 workers on the site and carried on until 1988 when it finally closed. In 1998, Trinity Buoy Wharf which was then an empty, derelict site was taken over by The Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust which began to develop the area as a centre for the arts and creative industries and the location is now home to a working community of over 350 people.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, Trinity Buoy Wharf will explore the site’s rich maritime history of Trinity Buoy Wharf; its buildings, lighthouse and the Thames, River Lee and their banks nearby with a night of special events will take place including specially installed light projections, art shows, films, images, stories and guided tours.
6pm- 6.40pm Maritime Heritage talk
6pm- 6.40pm “The Wharf” by Rupert Murray screening
6pm- 7pm Supercomputer performance
7.20pm- 7.55pm Guided Site Tour
8.30pm- 9pm TBW Drawing Prize PV
Open from 6pm- 9pm:
Story Box installation
3D projection light show
Andrew Baldwin’s Sculpture Park
Elisabeth Bond Exhibition
RioFoneHack interactive experience
Fat Boys Diner + The Orchard Cafe
Open Studios including:
Royal Drawing School
English National Opera
Trinity Art Studios
One positive aspect of the trust taking over the site was that it has preserved many historical aspects of this important part of London that may have been lost. If you would like to see how this was achieved, why not visit the Anniversary party on the 26th September, attendance will be free and there are plenty of cultural delights to enjoy.
For more information, visit the Trinity Buoy Wharf website here
After being away for a couple of weeks exploring the far north of Europe, it is nice to return and see the familiar masts of the STS Lord Nelson in West India Dock. By a strange coincidence I had a conversation while I was away with someone who had worked on the Lord Nelson for some years. As they say it is a small world.
The Lord Nelson was the first tall ship that was purpose-built with the aim of integrating disabled with able-bodied people. The ship was the fulfilment of the vision of JST’s founder, Christopher Rudd who believed that physically disabled people should be able to sail alongside able-bodied people as part of the crew.
The Lord Nelson sailed on her maiden voyage in 1986, Since that voyage, the STS Lord Nelson has sailed 461,943 Nautical Miles and taken nearly 29,000 people to sea. Of these, 10,500 people were physically disabled and more than 3,500 were wheelchair users.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the ship is that Lord Nelson’s has many facilities for disabled crew including flat wide decks, powered lifts, speaking compass, Braille signage and bright track radar for visually impaired crew members.
However, the whole purpose of these facilities is to enable the disabled crew to work side by side with the able-bodied crew.
Between 2012 and 2014, the Lord Nelson undertook its greatest challenge by completing a voyage around the world visiting 7 continents and 30 countries. Whilst in Australia and New Zealand she raced in tall ships races and also carried out an Antarctic Expedition.
The Lord Nelson and her sister ship, the Tenacious are regular visitors to West India Dock and both ships are a wonderful reminder of what can be achieved by fulfilling a vision of providing opportunities to people with a wide range of abilities.
At this time of year, the Thames sees the arrival of many cruise ships which make their way up to Tower Bridge, Eric Pemberton managed to capture some photographs of the MV Ocean Majesty as it passed by the Isle of Dogs.
The MV Ocean Majesty is a small cruise ship that was originally built-in 1966 as the ferry Juan March. As the Juan March, the ship worked on routes for the Madrid based ferry operator Trasmediterránea. During her service with her original owners, Juan March was mainly used to ferry passengers from Spain to the Balearic Islands.
In 1985 Juan March was sold to the Sol Mediterranean and became Sol Christina.She quickly changed name when she became the Kyros Star of Opale Lines. Eventually she was then sold to Majestic International Cruises, who rebuilt her from her original ferry-like form into a cruise ship, and she received her current name Ocean Majesty.
Since 1995, she has been charted out to other companies including Page & Moy and German cruise company Hansa Touristik.
The MV Ocean Majesty has a length 135 metres (443 ft) and beam of 15.8 metres (52 ft) and has 274 cabins, of which 185 are outside.
Thanks to Eric Pemberton for the photographs and it is time for us at Isle of Dogs Life to take a summer break for around three weeks.
After the arrival of the new bridge, we have another unusual arrival in the shape of 85 foot Super yacht catamaran WindQuest.
Built by French yacht builders JFA in 2014 , this is the first of a semi-custom “Long Island” series. The hulls are aluminum-built while the deck is in composite material. WindQuest has three staterooms and an office. In total, eight guests and six crew can be accommodated.
This ship actually visited West India Dock in 2014 as part of her maiden voyage.
Although we have plenty of Super yachts that visit West India Dock, however catamaran’s Super yachts of this size are unusual.
There seems to some confusion because the Port of London lists the ship as Christine but the boat still has Windquest logo whether this just a mistake or the yacht has been sold is not known.
Although we highlight the superyachts and other interesting vessels that visit West India Dock, there are other vessels that visit the dock that are more low key and more likely to be working vessels.
One of these vessels is the Catharina 11 tug that now lies in berth in the dock next to a large pontoon with a steel platform perched on top.
Catharina 11 is owned by HEBO Maritiemservice which is based in Rotterdam and was used to pull the large pontoon from Belgium. The steel platform looks like a piece of a bridge for the Canary Wharf site.
The steel platform was constructed by Victor Buyck in Belgium. The work in Canary Wharf is one of the largest building projects in Europe and has involved a number of construction challenges due to it proximity to the dock.
However this is one case when bringing the parts of the construction by water has been beneficial. If you are visiting Canary Wharf it is well worth watching some of the construction to get some idea of the enormous scale of the project.