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Creek


The rotting jetties

The makeshift structures

The tide-born detritus

The broken boats

The quiet

The solitude

The men

The passing ships

The muddy browns and washed out greens

The grey blue light

The sickly sweet smell from the soap factory on the opposite shore

The sickly sweet smell of landfill

The distant snarl of dirt bikes

The darting of the birds

The tides


Creek is about a specific place. Its location is closer to the mouth of the Thames estuary than to London. At the tip of a small peninsula, it is a site of former industry, now razed. The area is invisible to the intrusion of Google’s streetview as there are no roads, only a muddy, gated track.

It’s a place of escape, refuge and contemplation for the men who moor their boats and spend their time there. It is also reputedly the cheapest place on the entire river to rent a mooring from the Port of London Authority. I only spoke to one woman in all my visits. She was waiting patiently for her father in the passenger seat of his battered range rover; bright yellow, muddy and begrilled, it was nearer to a tank from Mad Max than the shining conveyances of London’s privileged.

Neighboured by delivery depots, processing plants and landfill, the peninsula is a beautiful place that is easily missed. Once discovered, it’s easily dismissed and denigrated. After all, there’s nothing there. It’s therefore an ‘opportunity’, vulnerable to exploitation by capital, as everywhere now is.