The Industrial Thames is a new gallery that brings together a particular strand of my work. It focuses on the industrial side of the river’s eastern reaches and it is a representative sample of work from the past decade. This work is ongoing.
I have written a short outline to introduce the gallery:
Beyond the apartment blocks and offices that line the Thames from the Pool of London to the Barrier, lies a starker and less familiar river. As the Thames broadens at Woolwich, building density diminishes and blank spaces emerge in the landscape, foreshadowing the character of the Estuary proper. Travelling east, industry becomes the river’s predominant leitmotif: sewage treatment plants, power stations, waste recycling facilities, aggregate plants, light industrial estates, supermarket distribution depots, landfill sites, oil refineries and container ports. Out here, the term ‘post-industrial’ hardly seems relevant.
Mostly overlooked and sometimes maligned (for environmental reasons), the working Thames is a significant part of our infrastructure and landscape. Its industries provide jobs in communities where work is scarce. Its processes and products underpin the wider economy. Amidst the rhetoric of regeneration, it’s worth pausing to consider the role of the industrial river in the future of the Thames Gateway.