The docklands area of London has, over the past 30-odd years, been transformed, and now London photographer Niki Gorick has given a photographer’s perspective on the area.
This isn’t a look back at the so-called good old days of the docks as a centre of London’s cargo trade, nor that the desolation that followed, but more a celebration of the renewal that came later.
It’s very much a photo essay book, with lots of large glossy photographs of the docks at work and leisure, and the many people who work there or call it home, even if only on a fleeting visit in a boat.
Although very much a visual book, it’s also very informative, particularly about the things you might not immediately think about – such as the water quality testing that takes place every month or the maintenance of the docks and the heritage that still exists.
Boat arrivals call for a lot of extra support from tugs and foreshore staff — but there’s even a boat crane in Surry Quays that is in regular use. The maintenance of boats, a seemingly unending task, is carried out by lots of workmen (and workwomen) who are featured rather than overlooked.
Docklands is unlike any part of London, with its mix of old Victorian docks, skyscrapers and people’s homes blended around the place in a way that could only have happened in a derelict area that’s being renewed. You’d never build docklands from scratch the way it looks today, and that’s been its blessing.
The book is a celebration of the area, and while it’s not a detailed history as plenty of other books do that already, it’s very much a fond look at an area that most people who live around are very fond of. If you know someone who lives in the area, they’re bound to enjoy flipping through the photos and maybe rediscover the docks that may have become just a bit too familiar to notice again.