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Blog: A History Of Docklands

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We had a lovely time with PARENTS at the weekend - after their TRIUMPH at Totally Acoustic on Thursday night we spent the next day stomping around in the Olympic Village. This featured a trip up The Squiggle, a wander round the park, a trip to Crate Brewery (who was a bit Arsey to be honest - I think I'll have a go at Howling Hops instead next time), and a long awaited return to Tap East. It was GRATE!

Saturday was similarly delightful although it did feature a trip to The Most Depressing Museum In London i.e. The Museum Of London In Docklands. I thought there was going to be a load of stuff about THATCHER and the building of Canary Wharf etc which I expected to make me FURIOUS. By the end of our visit a bit of Thatcher would have felt like light relief!

We started off with a trip to the third floor. Well, we started off with a cup of tea, but for the purposes of this narrative we'll skip that bit and do as the pamphlet instructed and go to the top of the building, where there was an exhibition about SLAVERY. It was an a) excellent b) profoundly DEPRESSING exhibition, which went into how it all happened, what it was like, and the effects it has had since. It was AWFUL. I slumped round feeling terrible that humans could do such a thing, especially BRITISH humans who were the worst perpetrators of it. Towards the end I got ANGRY instead, thinking about the rich bastards who profited from slavery and were never punished in the slightest and, indeed, are the ancestors of the rich bastards who are still in control of the country today. The last exhibit on the floor was a huge portrait of the first Chairman of The West India Dock company. "Who's this posh shit?" I growled to myself, leaning in to see his name.

His name was George Hibbert.

Thoroughly depressed by all this we went down to the second floor, relieved that we'd surely now DONE all the upsetting stuff. Here we were told the history of the building of Docklands, which largely involved OBLITERATING an entire town of working class housing and digging a big hole to fill with water. The occupants of these houses received no compensation and were shipped off to live in the already overcrowded East End, turning THAT area into a slum and ending up with everyone getting cholera and dying.

Surely - SURELY - I thought, things cannot be any worse on the last floor? Surely when we walk down one more flight of stairs there will be tales of jolly stevedores or sixties antics with the dock workers like what Peter Kay was in that Danny Baker programe?

We walked down a floor. "THE BLITZ".

So after all THAT we went for a thoroughly deserved pint, and then a couple more, and some whisky, before parents went off to their hotel and we went home. It had been a DELIGHTFUL visit, certainly delightful enough to survive the GRUELLING history or Docklands, but I needed to get back and to my bed for LO! the next day we were recording THE SHOW!!

posted 10/11/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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