17 May 2012

Circus of metal at Royal Victoria Dock

Going back to ExCel for an exhibition gave me another opportunity to savour the majesty of Royal Victoria Dock, and that was an opportunity that I was not going to miss.

Leaving ExCel by the West exit brings you straight to the magnificent footbridge that takes you to Silvertown, should you want to go there.


The vast sweep of water brings an uncommon stillness that most of London's parks fail to deliver due to joggers, dog walkers and other sorts of annoying people. The centre of the bridge has been adopted as an impromptu skate park but even that does little to shatter the calm.

The point of the bridge is not to get to Silvertown, rather it is to appreciate the views West to the City and East towards the sea.

Just beyond the South-West corner of the dock the sky is punctured by the distinctive yellow metal supports that hold up the roof of the Millennium Dome.

Challenging the Dome for attention are the still cranes allowed to rest in peace around the dock now that they have nothing purposeful to do.

For years they drove the economy of an empire and now they have been put out to grass as works of art. I hope that they are happy.

Zooming in on the corner more metal can be seen against the troubled sky, metal that was not there a year ago when last I was there.

Three more metal towers claim the sky. They are taller and wider than their neighbours who must now learn to deal with the competition.

But the new towers are not the victors in this metallic battle.

Strung between the new towers are the cable cars of the Emirates Air Line that will soon transport people from Greenwich Peninsula (by the Dome) to Royal Victoria DLR station by the North-West corner of the dock.

Like the bridge that I took these pictures from, the Air Line seems to be much higher above the water than is strictly necessary to allow ships pass beneath and, I presume, for the same reason, to provide spectacular views for its passengers.


I am absolutely awful at heights but with views like that on offer I think that even I might be tempted to take a ride on the Air Line. One day.

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