Before going to the Docklands, I had no idea what to expect. In my mind there were the echoes of Virginia Woolf, “The banks of the river are lined with dingy, decrepit- looking warehousing. They huddle on land that has become flat and slimy with mud. The same air of decrepitude and of being provisionally stamps them all.” I had known that they were renovated because that is what a large part of Penelope Lively’s City of the Mind focuses on. But it was still a surprise to me see the large glass buildings with stock information on them and men in business suits around once we got off of the tube. This was not at all the London that I was expecting or used to. Even when we stopped by Canary Warf again to go to Greenwhich I was still impressed with the massive glass structures that still took me by surprise
At the Docklands Museum found the transformation of the docks to be very interesting. The museum tracked the development of the docks form the time of the Romans to what they are today. A couple of portions of the museum struck me. This past year I was in a Victorian Britain history class and we focused on the abolition movement It was interesting to me to see the things that I discussed in the class and see the actual artifacts in the museum. There was a wall with all of the names of all the slave ships and the number of cargo they held, when you see this wall it truly has an impact.
Another area of the museum that I enjoyed was the fisherman’s village. This town was more reminiscent of what we would have seen if we went to the Docklands in the time that Woolf was writing about them
London has been able to re-grow several times. It should virtually not exist after all of the fires they have experienced, but today London thrives. The Docklands are a perfect example of how that area is able to rise up from something that was so vile before to become an area of growth and business that it is now. The novel City of the Mind looks at the changes the city has and continues to make. It is an interesting look at time and space and how these two intersect to create the history of London.
This is all about the renovations of the Docklands http://dockland.co.uk/about-docklands.html