Trinity Buoy Wharf

887 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2021

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I suspect few Londoners have heard of, let alone visited “Trinity Buoy Wharf”:, despite it being a centre for arts and cultural activities on the River Thames.

A friend, “Maud Milton”:, has a studio there where she makes wonderful outdoor mosaics and so we paid a visit. It’s probably not the easiest place to get to, but the nearest stations are Canning Town (Jubilee Line) and East India (Docklands Light Railway), and both involve a 15-minute walk.

At the entrance we were given a map of the site so we could navigate our way around the various sculptures and key vessels moored up. The site is directly opposite the O2 and had great views.

There are four vessels of varying types which all had information boards next to them. Up until the 1960s, East London had been hugely prominent in the maritime trade, but with the introduction of larger cargo ships and containers, trade was driven down river to Tilbury. So many barges, lighters and tugs, as well as people, were all redundant. We loved the name of the diesel-powered, Dutch-built tugboat, “Knocker White”:, whilst another was less imaginatively named “Suncrest”: (SUN XXIII). The distinctive red “Lightship LV95”: has now been transformed into a music recording studio and the “Diana”: was a former Thames Lighter or ‘dumb barge’ which were often rowed by one man on the tide.

There were around a dozen fabulous iron sculptures by “Andrew Baldwin”: with a sale sign telling us they ranged in price from £1.5 for a small tabletop item to £20k for something much larger and mechanical. Other sculptures were dotted around including a huge lightbulb and a “Time and Tide Bell”:

A ‘floodtide listening post’ was said to make music determined by the tide as a sensor submerged from the pier read tidal flow date which converted into notation. Although the music was said to emerge from a listening post, I couldn’t hear anything.

An original experimental “lighthouse”: still stands, and next to it is a small wooden shed “The Faraday Effect”: – a mini-museum dedicated to the scientist Michael Faraday’s inventions.

We ate in “Fat Boy’s Diner”: and totally misjudged portion sizes, ordering a cheese and ham wrap, a bacon baguette and a shared portion of chips. We could have easily shared just one of the items for a light lunch. There is also the “Orchard Cafe”: as an alternative: located in a former shipping container it’s unmissable with a black London taxi on its roof and a tree.

Toilets for all the site, appear to be a well-maintained set of smart portaloos, set in a discreet corner but with easy access.

Helen Jackson

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