Michael Faraday’s Shed

Well – not actually his real shed – but a teeny-tiny installation/museum that’s been set up inside the old shipyard’s clerk’s ‘office’ (looks exactly like a bog-standard B&Q garden shed to me) at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Being such an artistic crew, the guys at TBW couldn’t just leave a boring old shed on the site, so Ana Ospina has decorated it, using antiques, found objects and things ‘of the sea’ such as fishing nets and those lovely glass weights that I only seem to see decorating the homes of friends who live by the sea, rather than actually at the seaside itself, to create some sort of imaginary ‘study’ for Victorian science-hero Michael Faraday.

If that sounds a bit random, there is a reason for putting it there – Faraday worked out of Trinity Buoy Wharf for some years, helping to develop lighthouses, in between inventing the Faraday Cage – a structure based on Benjamin Franklin’s somewhat risky studies in storm-management (using kites) ensuring that lightning or other electromagnetic charges strike round something rather than through it, and discovering the Faraday Effect, which is something to do with the polarisation of light in relation to magnetic fields, the details of which, frankly, evade me.
Faraday’s work on the Trinity Buoy Wharf lighthouses (my favourite mental image is definitely of how they were tested – some poor sod used to be sent up to Shooters Hill of dark winter’s night to see if they could spot it…) is being celebrated in this minute work of art – with the usual sound effects, words, images and atmosphere – and it’s really rather fun. The artist has a beautiful (but tricky to navigate) website here

When I first saw The Faraday Effect (the shed is named after the phenomenon I don’t understand above), it was tucked round the back, next to Fat Boy’s Diner, but I went back the other day and noticed it was gone.

Slightly worried, I had a poke around and realised it’s been moved to the wharf-front, much closer to the lighthouse itself, not far from the entrance to Jem Finer’s Longplayer, which I’ll get onto another day. It’s open every weekend (as is Longplayer) between 11am and 5pm

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