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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Dancing City at Canary Wharf – 29 June to 4 July 2015


Dancing City is part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) which is one of  London’s leading festival of free outdoor performing arts (theatre, dance, and street arts).

GDIF was founded by Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings in 1996 as an independent festival. It developed out of the former Greenwich Festival into a cross-river festival to incorporate other areas. Due to its success , GDIF has been growing every year and in 2014, the Festival featured over a hundreds performances by dozens of national and international companies with more than 110,000 people attending the outdoor shows in East and South London.


Dancing City  is an  annual outdoor dance extravaganza with performances from UK and international dance companies. This year it will feature the mesmerising footwork of New Zealand Maori Haka, to fluid and fearless Parkour as well as nostalgic 1950’s tap and powerful, contemporary dance from leading UK and international companies .

Dancing City
Mon 29 June – 4 July,
Canary Wharf

Mon – Fri 13:00 & 18:00
Sat 13:00 – 17:00


8 Songs (29 June)
29 June 2015
Time: 13:00, 18:00
Presented by Gandini Juggling

Hold On (30 June)
30 June 2015
Time: 13:00, 18:00
Presented by Stefano di Renzo

Bar Story (1 July)
1 July 2015
Time: 13:00, 18:00
Presented by Etta Ermini Dance Theatre

Every Grain (2 July)
2 July 2015
Time: 13:00, 18:00
Presented by Sole Rebel Tap


Turn Around Boy (3 July)
3 July 2015
Time: 13:00, 18:00
Presented by Compagnie Le Grand Jeté

5 Soldiers
4 July 2015
Time: 13:35, 16:05
Presented by Rosie Kay Dance Company

bar story

Bar Story (4 July)
4 July 2015
Time: 15:05, 16:40
Presented by Etta Ermini Dance Theatre

Caída Libre
4 July 2015
Time: 13:00, 16:40
Presented by Compañía Sharon Fridman

Danger Risk of Falling
4 July 2015
Time: 14:10, 16:35
Presented by Parkour Dance Company

Every Grain (4 July)
4 July 2015
Time: 13:40, 15:35
Presented by Sole Rebel Tap

Haka Day Out
4 July 2015
Time: 14:00, 15:30
Presented by Corey Baker Dance

Of Man and Beast
4 July 2015
Time: 13:00, 16:00
Presented by Company Chameleon

Solo 2
4 July 2015
Time: 14:10, 15:30
Presented by Brodas Bros.

Te Odiero
4 July 2015
Time: 14:40, 16:45
Presented by HURyCAN

Turn Around Boy (4 July)
4 July 2015
Time: 13:45, 15:05
Presented by Compagnie Le Grand Jeté

There are large number of events in Greenwich, Canary Wharf and other locations which are usually very entertaining , visit the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) website here for more details.

Tall Ship Tenacious in West India Dock – 29th June 2015


On a warm sunny day, we welcome the arrival of the 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.


The Tenacious and her sister ship the Lord Nelson are regular visitors to West India Dock. They 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.


Since its launch Tenacious has taken nearly 12,000 people sailing of these 3,000 were physically disabled and 1,000 were wheelchair users.


The Tenacious has just arrived from Poole and often sails around the British Isles and Europe, however she has sailed all around the world and often takes part in Tall Ship races.


The Construction of Wood Wharf – June 2015


When the tall ships arrived last September, Wood Wharf was a wonderful sight, full of ships and people. Fast forward, nearly a year later and we have a very different site. Construction has started on the development to  broaden and extend the Canary Wharf Estate. The masterplan is to create a development with a mix of uses, providing over 3,200 new homes, nearly 2 million sq ft of commercial office space, and a further 335,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants and community uses.


However this is no ordinary site because part of the plans is to reclaiming part of the dock area by constructing a cofferdam. It is expected that 9000sqm of land will be reclaimed from West India Dock South, but this will only achieved by some major work on the cofferdam which will make it watertight to be drained and then filled in.

The cofferdam design features 160 tubular piles 1220mm in diameter socketed 10m into the dock bed. The tubular piles are up to 21m long and each pile is cased, drilled then installed into place below the water. In between the tubular piles sheet piles are installed to create a watertight retaining structure for the 10m head of water being held back.


This work has already began and the sight of large cranes on pontoons being transported around have become commonplace. Although The Wood Wharf project is a large project it does face a number of difficulties that makes it not one of the easiest development. For example access to the site is limited especially for lorries, therefore the constructors are bringing in materials by river where possible. There is also the problem of operating within a dock area which needs testing of dock walls and of silt in the dock. Lack of access means that cranes are taken around the site on large pontoons.The dock is still in use with shipping, so movement of equipment and barges and other marine vessels has to be cordinated with other users.


Sometimes we are so used to developments that we underestimate the difficulties that they sometimes have to overcome. The Wood Wharf project is a good opportunity to watch the different stages of development at close quaters, so if you are in the area over the next few months why not take a look.

The Story of the Limehouse Pier

limehouse pier

Many of the posts on the blog are the outcome of research suggested by contributors, Eric Pemberton often sends one of his interesting postcards which engages my curiosity and makes me determined to find out more about the subject. Eric sent a postcard recently which was a reminder that certain parts of the river have an intriguing history all of their own.

Historically, The riverside district from the South West India Dock (Impounding) entrance lock up to Dunbar Wharf was known as Limehouse Hole. The name was in use by the seventeenth century, this was one of the first parts of the parish of Poplar to be developed, but almost nothing survives of its earliest 17th century development, In the 18th to 20th century, Limehouse Hole was developed with a number of shipping-related enterprises. There were shipbuilders, barge-builders, boat-builders, ropemakers, sailmakers, mastmakers, blockmakers and ship-chandlers.


1908 Map

Due to its location on the river, Limehouse Hole was a popular place for watermen to ply their trade, which they did successfully from the seventeenth century. In the ninetieth century, watermen were losing business to steamboats and tried to encourage trade by erecting a floating pier at Limehouse Hole Stairs. It was erected in 1843 but did not have the required effect and was gone by 1860. However it was the first pier in Limehouse Hole, but not the last because when a passenger steamboat service to the locality was proposed, a new floating pier was erected at Limehouse Hole Stairs in 1870. This pier, a walkway on three pontoons, was designed by Stephen William Leach  was removed in 1901 for the building of Dundee Wharf. The postcard sent by Eric dates  from the early 20th century and features another Limehouse Pier, this construction  was built for the short lived  ‘Penny Steamer’ service in 1905 but managed to survive until 1948.

stairs limehouse

Other views of the pier are from Thames Riverscape  and the Britain from Above photographs. In 1937 the Port of London Authority commissioned Avery Illustrations to document both banks of the Thames between London Bridge and Greenwich/Island Gardens. This Thames Riverscape now provides an invaluable record of the Thames from this period.


The aerial picture from Britain from Above shows the pier in 1928 and clearly shows how far it extended.

The pier was not the most successful ever but it did feature in a 1927 poem by Helen Markham

At Limehouse Pier, the tide is strong,
And there are curious things adrift,
But the wind hath a nobler song,
Salt with the sea’s sharp kiss, and swift.
A flowing fire is on the river,
Like wine outpoured, wine-gold, wine-red,
or purging of her piteous dead.
The great crane engines swing and quiver.
And the lost sea-birds wheel and cry,
The long, slow barges, dreamfully,
The little brown-sailed boats, go by
Intent to find the sea.

To a large extent, Limehouse Hole has now disappeared underneath Westferry Circus and  the Riverside developments, this  stretch is now known as part of the longer Limehouse Reach but for centuries the name of Limehouse Hole and to a lesser extent Limehouse Pier were known all around the world.

Super Yacht Forever One in West India Dock – 19th June 2015


After the departure of one super yacht, West India Dock welcomes another with the arrival of Forever One. Super yacht Forever One, a 54 metre motor yacht  was launched in 2014 by ISA from their Ancona, Italy-based yard.


The yacht was designed by Horacio Bozzo, a naval architect and the Interior design is by Studio Massari . It includes a number of interesting features, unusually the yacht is five decks high and has a reverse bow.


The upper deck includes the owners’ suite  and a alfresco area and a balcony. Additional folding balconies on the main deck and folding platforms give swimmers easy water access. The yacht has its own the 29’5” (9-meter) tender.


Because the yacht is five decks high,  Forever One  has a glass-enclosed elevator that can take guests from their staterooms up to the bridge. Forever One has an overall length of 54.65 metre, a beam of 11.10 metre with a top speed of 16 knots and a range of 4,200nm at 12 knots.


The private guest accommodation consists of with three staterooms, the crew area is located forward with  six crew cabins.
In the world of super yachts finding out who actually owns the ship is sometimes a problem because often they are financed by someone to build and then they are used for charter until they are sold on.   In Forever One’s case, the original owner was Fernando Nicholson a broker who named the ship after his wife.


It is not known how long the Forever One will be in dock.




The Photography of Christina Broom at the Museum of London Docklands – 19 June to 1 November 2015


The Museum of Docklands is located in West India Quay within a Grade One listed converted Georgian sugar warehouse and has a large number of fascinating permanent exhibits, however they also have a series of temporary exhibitions on particular themes.


On the 19th June, the museum presents a new exhibition which looks at the life and work of an early 20th century female photographer, Christina Broom. The exhibition is entitled  Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom and includes a wide range of her work, including Suffragette processions, First World War soldiers, official photographs of the Household Division and key London events, from the Lord Mayor’s Parade and royal coronations and funerals to historical pageants.


Although Broom is  considered to be the UK’s first female press photographer, she only began her photographic career in 1903 at the age of 40.  The injury of her husband in a cricket accident led Broom to turn to the photography trade  as a source of financial income. What made Broom’s work stand out from her female photographer contemporaries was that she became a sort of roving reporter taking to the streets to photograph newsworthy events.


What was extraordinary about Broom’s work was that although she was driven by commercial concerns using the photographs to make postcards to sell at her stall  at the gates of the Royal Mews in London, what she was actually producing was a unique visual record of the people, locations and events of the time. In her thirty-six year career she produced around 40,000 photographs .


Perhaps because of her commercial output, her photographic reputation has been ignored up to the present day, however this exhibition goes some way to rectify this oversight. In an age when camera’s were bulky and difficult to transport, Broom achieves a wonderfully high standard that was recognised even by the Royal Family.


A walk around the exhibition  offer glimpses into the past from pageants to funerals, parades to protests. Perhaps the most poignant are the servicemen from the First World War,  the fun and high jinks of the soldiers in the photographs is tempered by the fact that the viewer would understand many would not return from the front.

This intriguing and important free exhibition runs till November and is well worth a visit.


Super Yacht Positive Carry in West India Dock – 13th June 2015


After the departure of the Sea Cadet ships last week, West India Dock welcomes a quite impressive Super Yacht named Positive Carry.


The 203.41ft /62m  Super Yacht ‘Positive Carry’ was built in 2005 by the famous Dutch shipyard Feadship and last refitted in 2014. The vessel’s exterior design and engineering are the work of De Voogt. Previously named Rasselas , she was bought in 2014 for around asking $50 million and renamed Positive Carry by her new owner, who intended to  cruise her around the world.


Positive Carry’s interior layout sleeps up to 12 guests in 6 staterooms, including a master suite, 3 double cabins and 2 twin cabins. She is also capable of carrying up to 19 crew onboard .


She is built with steel hull and aluminium superstructure  with a modern stabilization system which reduces roll motion effect , she has a cruising speed of 16 knots, a maximum speed of 13 knots and a range of 4500nm from her  fuel tanks.


As with many of the larger super yachts, the Positive Carry has some impressive leisure and entertainment facilities including  a Jacuzzi (on deck), Spa, Air Conditioning,  Gym, Touch-n-Go Helipad, Helicopter Landing Pad, WiFi connection on board.

Owners of such ships tend to keep a low profile, however the unusual name would indicate that the owner is an American financier.