Sunday, February 17, 2019

Isle of Dogs

Somehow, in all my years of wandering around London, I've never explored the Isle of Dogs. This is the area south of Canary Wharf, hanging down into a loop of the Thames like a uvula. I've been to Canary Wharf many times, but I've never walked the island itself, so yesterday I decided to do some exploring there.

It seems debatable whether the Isle of Dogs really is an island. To me it looks more like a peninsula that's been bisected by various canals and boat basins. The origin of the name isn't clear, but it goes back hundreds of years -- apparently the earliest known reference is in the papers of Henry VIII, which mentioned the purchase of a hose for a ship docked there.

Canary Wharf itself is a hotbed of skyscrapers, cranes and construction, and the regions to the south -- although more settled -- are full of postwar estate housing. I believe London's so-called docklands were heavily bombed in World War II and maybe that's why there's very little that seems to come from an earlier time.

The Lotus, in the photo above, is a floating Chinese restaurant.

This woman was struggling to carry a massive amount of plastic wrap. Kind of metaphorical, really. I didn't hang around to see where she was going with it.

I did find a few pockets of older buildings, streets that had somehow escaped war damage and subsequent construction. But they were few and far between.

After walking around the various boat basins and past Millwall Park, I found myself at Island Gardens, at the island's southern tip. It's a small park that includes this cafe, with a brick mural of a teapot and cup on the side.

The park offers an amazing view across the Thames of Christopher Wren's Royal Naval College buildings in Greenwich, with Inigo Jones' Queen's House in the background as well as the hilltop where the Royal Observatory is located.

I then walked back up the east side of the island, which offered views of the O2 Arena (also known as the Millennium Dome) across the water. Remember when Dave and I climbed it with a friend many years ago? Those climbing tours must still be available -- I saw tiny people on the roof during my walk yesterday. (Well, OK, normal-sized people, but to me they looked tiny.)

Back at Canary Wharf, I popped into Starbucks for a hot chocolate before catching the tube for home.


David said...

I have often heard of this place, but didn't know it was a real area of London! Thanks for the informative post, and the great pictures, as always.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I have been in that cafe. It's near the end of the pedestrian tunnel that travels under the river from Greenwich.

May I suggest another interesting London cultural experience for you? Go and watch Millwall F.C. playing at The New Den and chat to some of the supporters at the home end of the ground. You could also have a pie at halftime - that's if you last that long!

Ms. Moon said...

So London has a...Dog Island?!?
Living in an apartment like one of those in the shot with the Lotus is my idea of hell. But somehow the restaurant does make it better.

robin andrea said...

What an interesting place to explore. I love the long history there, so different from California.

ellen abbott said...

there's no history in Houston and no war to blame for it. buildings, even award winning architecture, get torn down and replaced before they can be considered historical. it looks like every square inch of that island is covered by buildings. neat view of the Royal Naval College.

Sharon said...

The whole time I was reading this I was trying to picture where exactly it was located and then I saw the picture of the Royal Naval College and I knew. I stood at that water's edge by the college looking in that direction and wondering what was over there the last time I was in London. I love that Chinese Restaurant....very Hong Kong looking. Also, I didn't climb all the way up to the observatory when I was there so, a return visit to this area is in order. The other place I'd like to explore is down by Dulwich. Great post and wonderful photos.

Catalyst said...

I looked up the Lotus Restaurant on the Web. It looks like a great place to celebrate with impeccable furnishings and a great menu. Now I'm hungry for Chinese food!

Comox Valley and beyond said...

Awesome photos thanks for showing us this side of London.

jenny_o said...

I know the population density is very high there, but I'm always shocked to see evidence of it, like the buildings in the second photo show. Like Mary Moon, I'd feel like I had died and gone to hell if I had to live there! I know; I am spoiled. And partly it's what a person gets used to. But I think it would be very hard not to have a green yard to walk around whenever the mood strikes.

37paddington said...

The picture of the Royal Navy College across the Thames made me remember that I had stood in that very same spot when I lived in your city in my youth. As I've mentioned before, I am rediscovering so much of London through your wonderful photos, memories mostly buried until your pictures stir them.