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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 bright sunshine on Sunday was just the encouragement I needed to take a walk up to the wharf to check up on the latest developments. With plenty of street art and sculptures around the site, there is always something new to discover.
For the those who do not know the area, here is a short potted history. The Corporation of Trinity House is 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.
The first indication that this is a slightly surreal location is the Black London taxi with a tree sprouting out of the top mounted on a roundabout. A number of large buoys and some street art entertain you as you walk along the pathway up to wharf. One of the most striking pieces of work is the Electric Soup mural by New Zealand Artist Bruce Mahalski on a former shop front on Orchard Place.
A new piece is a 3D painting of the word paint which is quite striking as you wander down the road.
Sculptor Andrew Baldwin has a number of sculptures at the wharf including his latest installation which is a very original staircase has been installed on the Main Stores building.
If the sculpture was a surprise, the fact that the Fat Boy’s Diner has been moved next to the Lighthouse was more of a shock. Fatboy’s Diner is a genuine 1940s American Diner from New Jersey that was bought over from the States then had a few short stays in different parts of London before finding its present site. The Diner itself is a bit of a celebrity featuring in the film Sliding Doors, music videos and magazines.
The growth of the Container City seems to be ongoing with new studio and gallery space being developed. It was encouraging to see more people than normal coming to the wharf on a Sunday with a steady stream of people enjoying the area and the food and drink at the Cafe and the diner.
As regular readers will know, Trinity Buoy Wharf is one of my favourite places in London and just after Christmas I visited the Wharf on a cold grey winter’s day.
It is never really busy at the Wharf, but on this particular day there was no sign of anyone, even the Fatboy’s Diner had a closed sign in the window.
But one thing you can always rely on when you visit the Wharf is that you will find something new and slightly bizarre and there next to the Container City was a series of Sculptures.
The Sculptures are created by Andrew Baldwin who is probably best known for his walking boat, a 40 foot boat that came out of the water and walked up the foreshore just below the Tate Modern.
Andrew Baldwin trained as a Master Blacksmith and Welder and worked as such for 28 years before he turned his skills to making a number of large mechanical sculptures.
The Sculptures at Trinity Buoy Wharf are a series of his large mechanical models, in a strange way they are a bit of cross between a Heath Robinson type machine and Victorian clockwork toys.
They really don’t seem out-of-place being near the Wharf’s workshops which were used for fixing various objects and machines but are now used for other purposes.
Whilst looking at the strange mechanical pieces I glanced up over the Thames and saw another mechanical wonder the Cable car crossing over the dark grey skies.
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