Peninsula Pong

M32 asks:

I have a quick question for you. Ever since moving to Greenwich many years
ago I experience an occasional rather unpleasant smell wafting across the
park. Presumably this comes from a factory or plant down on the river in East
Greenwich? Do you have any idea what is causing it, if it’s harmful and if
it is ever going to go away!? I used to think it might be a brewery or
something but it is more unpleasant than that. Its not terrible, just
unpleasant. And if the wind is really strong it even occasionally infects the
rarefied air of West Greenwich :-) I just wonder how many of the x thousand
new occupants of the peninsular (one day) will be happy to live with the smell
next door.

I think we have all experienced that smell from time to time. The strange thing is that it’s always different – sometimes quite yeasty, other times chemical, yet others downright putrid.

The factory that used to be responsible for the truly terrible smells of yesteryear, Molassine, which made animal feed and which was responsible for the Great Molasses Flood (see Mostly-Accurate History) is long dead and gone, though I notice that Mary Mills has written a lot about it on the web.

It must be a factory – though which one is a mystery. I’ve always assumed that it’s the one with those strange pipes and towers at Enderby Wharf – but I could be totally wrong. That one, surely, is Alcatel, which only does telecommunications. Maybe I’ve got that wrong though.

My own theory is that the factory no longer exists to manufacture anything, save new and ever-worsening smells. They have an army of scientists working around the clock to create new pongs in the hope that one day AEG will pay the company large amounts to go away…

To be honest most of the time it’s quite ok. It’s only on a particularly bad day when the wind’s in a certain direction that it becomes a problem.

Does anyone know the real culprit?

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