'Dock Life Renewed -
How London's Docks Are Thriving Again'
For my latest project I have been photographing life on the waters of London’s famous old Docks. Forty years ago, London’s Docklands had become 6,000 acres of forgotten wasteland after over a century as the busiest port in the world. Now these once-derelict docks are again filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, forming homes and businesses for an extraordinary range of people. From millionaires visiting on their superyachts, country-house executives needing a London base and fit pensioners looking for adventure, through to young tech workers wanting a cheaper place to live, jobbing craftsmen keeping ancient marine trades alive and homeless people finding refuge, these are varied and dynamic communities.
Focusing on St. Katharine Docks, the Surrey Docks and the Isle of Dogs, my photographs illustrate the rich mix of personalities and activities in these converted commercial docks. Lying either side of the Thames between the City and Greenwich, they enjoy central London locations but as floating communities with their own nautical customs and rules, they are a world apart from their land-based neighbours. Who would have predicted that the formation of the government quango, the London Docklands Development Corporation, back in the early 1980s would kickstart such a remarkable transformation by the river. I've been able to gain unique access and these images reveal the amazingly diverse modern-day life within these urban marinas.
Lord Michael Heseltine has written the Foreword. 'I am delighted that this book specifically celebrates the regeneration of life on the waters of the old docks, reminding us of their working heritage as the great Port of London. Although cargo ships are no longer arriving to unload, an extraordinary diversity of vessels are thriving in the docks for business, living and recreation.'
With an introduction by Matt Brown, Londonist's Editor-at-Large, 'Dock Life Renewed - How London's docks are thriving again' is published by Unicorn Publishing. Now available to buy here and at all good bookshops: https://www.unicornpublishing.org/page/detail/dock-life-renewed/?k=9781911397311