Bye, Bye, Syral
Not everyone is going to mourn the passing of Syral – the giant factory of doom better known as “what the hell’s that awful pong?” on the Peninsuala. But as one of the last remaining heavy industries left around here, the refinery was the employer of many people – and has been churning out its repertoire of appalling odours for years now.
No more. The place has closed, and on the evidence of my passing by it a couple of times over the last few days (sorry – my camera’s irretrievably broken so no pics, ‘fraid) they’re dismantling it with almost unseemly haste. The chaps in hi-viz jackets who are swarming over the place don’t seem to be actually demolishing yet, but much preparation is being done.
As I went past on Sunday, they seemed to be playing a final rendition of their ‘greatest hits’ of dreadful smells, maybe they are cleaning out the silos or something.
I wonder what’s going to happen to this oh, so marketable piece of real estate on the riverside. Will we keep the jetties that had so much cash spent doing them up for the millennium, with their historic bits and bobs, natural-plants habitats, fishing platforms and weepy willows?
Will we lose yet another piece of our Thames Path? (I’m beginning to forget what the bit outside Lovell’s Wharf even looks like, it’s been closed so long…) I would be most upset if we lost another bit of what is, after all, a right of way.
It’s all happening very fast, though one of the chaps I was talking to told me that the giant silos won’t be blown up until next February (a date for the diary for anyone who remembers the hospital chimney exploding about four years ago. Watch this space.)
I vaguely remember that under Ken, the riverfront round that part of the peninsula was to be kept for industrial use, but now I just don’t know – I’m sure the developers are slathering just at the thought of it.
What I’d like to see is some light industry – small, interesting workshops, maybe maritime-related, moving in. What I have the creepiest suspicion we’ll actually get is yet more luxury flats and a truly interesting, different, real part of the Thames Path will turn into more identical glass and steel blocks.
My camera breaking (it was the moment of trying to take a picture of the towers being scaffolded that did it – maybe I annoyed the god of industrial silos…) is a real bummer. Syral may not have been our favourite part of living in Greenwich, but it is part of our history. At the very least it needs recording.
May I suggest that anyone walking along the Thames Path over the next few months takes their camera with them and takes some snaps? It will change every day – we should have a record of what the area looks like now.