Get lit up in Rotherhithe

A welcome bit of news is today’s official return of the fast river ferries renewing their speedy service after the shutdown of the craft which ply from Battersea downstream to Woolwich with intermediate rush hour commuter service.  Their presence has been sorely missed!!  Let’s hope that this welcome return won’t be closed down – if only for economic reasons, the Thames needs to be busy!!

Living alongside the River Thames usually gives on a grandstand view of spring activities along the waterfront.  This year fewer and fewer events to report, however we did see the return of the annual Naval visit of a pair of patrol boats as they motored up into the capital.  These traditional craft are utilised by sea cadet crews and are welcome back in our tideway to show the flag again.  The white ensign has been missed by us Thamesiders too!  The cadets would have been given a wonderful panoramic view of the Pool of London as well as Greenwich Reach and Canary Wharf, passing Deptford and Rotherhithe where a pair of French designed sail boats were in training with youngsters who learn basic seamanship under the instruction of skilled watermen.  A fine sight to see as they tacked up and down on an unusually quiet waterway.

As well as Deptford, Rotherhithe is a base for training craft and a venue for other maritime events such as the recent Mayflower celebrations which marked the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers’ great venture, as previously reported in Riverwatch.  This historical riverside settlement is full of maritime buildings and structures as illustrated in the accompanying handsome photos.  It is easy to get to by London Transport via Brunel’s first subaqueous rail tunnel – Rotherhithe Station has a fascinating museum alongside which is well worth a visit.  I was privileged to help in the design and first installation under Nick de Salis’ guidance and enthusiasm some 30 years or so ago!!  (Thank you Rotherhithe and Exhibition organisers!).  This year I hope for the return of the ‘Thames Alive’ celebratory cruise up to Rotherhithe from the Houses of Parliament, which was played out last year in spite of river closure. 

This time we hope to celebrate the flood lighting of Rotherhithe’s Village central landmark, as beautifully photographed for the Thames Guardian last year – well worth a pleasant river walk which will be a must – more news anon.

Last year I devised a riverbus trip up-river to coincide with the parliamentary outing to Rotherhithe, which also introduced me to Battersea Power Station Pier for the first time!  By luck more than judgement, my passage both up and down coincided with the ceremonial events. 

Today Judy and I invited our ‘editorial board’ to a small get-together out on our deck as this brief spell of spring needs to be remembered.  Both Tony and Helen Othen agreed readily to a light lunch on our deck just in time to see the top of the tide!  Hurrah!!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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