Thoughts on Lockdown on the Thames

We’ve enjoyed the start of summer early as the geese and other early birds on Island Gardens wake up, their calls crossing the silent river as Canary Wharf dreams away.  We also hear the dawn chorus from the great Greenwich Hospital Estate, bereft of students, its gates firmly closed to one and all.

No Thames Clipper or incoming aircraft wake us from our slumbers as the capital has shut down because of the dreaded plague.  Just the sound of determined runners sprinting by making up for their cancelled marathon.  No early rowers from our next-door rowing centre or the splash and rattle of blades as crew set out for their Sunday practice.  No commuters chattering their way along our Crane Street ancient passageway to and from their daily business chores.

An on-going project means re-reading Samuel Pepys’ accounts of regular rendezvous with John Evelyn up at the Kings Dockyard in Deptford.  This helps me with my graphic visualisation of the Elizabethan manor house at Sayes Court and the peace of those remarkable gardens which so impressed the great and the good.  Further investigations made me aware that, just next door to the dock wall in the Royal Dock, an iron foundry was busy building those fine and interesting naval vessels which worked all the hours of daylight.  Perhaps we are experiencing the quietest time ever on our great maritime waterway.  That’s a thought to savour and enjoy.

This long-lasting project at Deptford can be viewed from my studio’s upstream vista, over both the Rowing Club and Trafalgar Tavern roofs up to Creekmouth with the Royal Dockyard beyond including the Master Shipwright’s House and Convoys Wharf on the bend of Greenwich Reach.  Part cleared building land and the famed early Georgian Olympic slipway cover an extensive waterfront all awaiting development.  It’s my intention during lockdown to depict various aerial views aided by the excellent monograph published by the Museum of London following the extensive excavations of 2000-2012.

VE day 3

 

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

2 responses to “Thoughts on Lockdown on the Thames”

  1. Lesley Hodsdon says :

    Hello Peter!

    How lovely to read your thoughts on this terrible time – I often walk along Crane street and wonder how you both are getting on!

    i am preparing the next Greenwich Society newsletter this week and would be very grateful if I could include your Riverwatch in the current edition, suitably attributed of course! I am going to cover the lockdown and its impact and you express it so evocatively. Please let me know.

    With fond memories of seeing you both on the bus, in a gallery or indeed at the O2 Intercontinental for a good chat! Look after yourselves!

    Lesley

    On Mon, 11 May 2020 at 07:44, RiverWatch returns wrote:

    > RiverWatch returns posted: “We’ve enjoyed the start of summer early as the > geese and other early birds on Island Gardens wake up, their calls crossing > the silent river as Canary Wharf dreams away. We also hear the dawn chorus > from the great Greenwich Hospital Estate, bereft of stud” >

  2. Anthony Cross says :

    Bravo Cap’n Kent. xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: