The rotting jetties
The makeshift structures
The tide-born detritus
The broken boats
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
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.