Docklands Museum

A group of Up Your Street subscribers met our guide at Canary Wharf underground station to walk about the garden with its ornamental water features then to part of the malls. It was the breathing spell  before the lunch-time bell sounded and finance worker after finance worker would descend into the food halls so the kiosk workers were out of their cubby-holes rushing their lunches whilst grouped around the take away customer benches. I imagined working in the hot spots, standing most of the day, earning a pittance and then having no staff rest-room. Oh, sounds like McDonalds.

The mall toilets stink.

Into Cabot Square we marched and admired the fountains where water formed temporary sculptures or cascaded past red ornamental flowers. Our route took us over the bridge then into the Museum. The staff, supervising an empty reception area, actually greeted us. The place was empty.

Starting at the top floor our guide told us stories about lightermen, London Bridge, tobacco, mud larking and clay pipes as we moved from showcase to artefact.

The Museum of London at Docklands has much to see. There’s a floor devoted to the history of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Remember Museum of Mankind? Where did all that stuff go? There was much to read.  Much to take in and empty bellies slowed us down and distracted us.

We’d just completed a course with Rosetta Art Centre about the Docklands of yore and began a new one yesterday so are up to here with east London’s  docks’ histories going from tragedies, world wars, tight-knit communities, the pollution of the Thames and onto the demise of the Royal Docks themselves. Here we were standing on old dock cobbles and timbers, the remains of a massive industry marked in a Museum surrounded by pricey beverage outlets and the water. Floating by the museum’s entrance is a church in a boat.

As our hips and thighs longed for a cushioned chair we agreed in unison that our guide had served us well and freely.

We had our picnic and sandwiches in a spacious café and an hot chocolate for over two quid a mug. (I’m going to see what IanVisits has to say about that in his museum meals’ blog!) Grandparent duties called so we headed for the DLR  to get back to outpouring schools down the line.

What a great 11th December 2014.


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