Then and Not Yet
This picture was taken in 1937 as part of a PR exercise for the London County Council – a “collection of illustrations of the services administered by London local governing authorities with descriptive letterpress.”
Sadly for me, most of the photographs are generic – ”poultry farming at an approved school”, “a council coal inspector,” ”ambulance leaving a school for physically defective children,” ” “institution for mentally defective lads”, “ivory show floor, a London Dock” etc. but they do actually admit that the above photo is of Greenwich Pier. Apologies for the poor scan – my scanner’s making very weird noises this morning and the quality’s gone strange.
What strikes me about the picture is how open and simple the pier is – like a proper promenade, rather than behind high walls (even before the work getting to the pier was like trying to enter the dungeon); it must have had quite an ‘opening’ effect to the join between town and river that we don’t have now (and didn’t have before the hoardings up.)
Of course this is before the Cutty Sark arrived; presumably that was when the walls went up.
So what do we have to look forward to?
Well, the Conran design that’s being built now and which Steve’s just reminded me about isn’t, I confess, my cup of tea. This is the closest angle I can find to the pic at the top:
To me, however prestigious the architect, this doesn’t feel right for Greenwich riverfront. To me it’s clunky and blocky and I have a horrid suspicion that the copper is going to go a weird streaky green after not very long. But I like the idea of a roof terrace on the cafe (might get a bit blowy any time other than August, but the view should be intriguing.)
And hey – what do I know – I’ve already been quietly munching my tricorn over the Sammy Ofer Wing at the NMM (though I wait to see what actually goes inside it before finishing the last bit of crown)
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