Landscape Interface Studio and Shared Assets successfully held their “Limehouse Cut Floating Workshop” on Friday 25th October, sponsored by The Culture Capital Exchange as part of the ‘Inside Out Festival 2013’.
The workshop offered the opportunity for animated discussions about personal experiences of the Limehouse Cut – the challenges of navigating and sharing the towpath, conversations about the spectacular light – the dappled sunshine across the water surface on a late October afternoon , concerns regarding rubbish and fly-tipping in The Cut and its neighbourhood…..people with special relationships and affections for the area….curiosity and fears…..feelings of isolation and separations…. of local spots which are difficult to access and cut-off from the local community….. micro climates and the geography of The Cut and how the ‘cooling’ benefits of the canal waters are under estimated and under utilised…….an appreciation of the slow speed and pace of boating on the canal.
The event attracted…local residents, writers, architects, urban planners, designers, art producers, bloggers and representatives of local housing and regeneration community associations plus members of local community groups.
Members of Bow Geezers – a group of retired men from the area – their club set up after research from Age Concern in the London borough of Tower Hamlets showed that few men were using their day centres. Recently members of the group have been working with artists and engineers on a project to create sustainable sources of power to help reduce energy costs for the community. Projects have been developed working with young people in a local secondary school creating designs for wind turbines. Another project undertaken by members of Bow Geezers is in tidal energy – using the flow of the River Thames to produce power for our community in Bow, East London. The group has looked at local water wheels, and enlisted the help of artists and engineers to investigate turbine design, and the possibilities of using the Thames Barrier as a barrage. At the prototyping laboratory members have been able to create and test small scale working prototypes for tidal turbines.
Stitches in Time – a community led visual and textile arts organisation established in 1993, based in Tower Hamlets which works within schools and community locations throughout London and the UK. They provide a forum to enable culturally diverse groups to work together by participating in programmes to raise levels of achievement, confidence levels and skill-based learning, for women, young people and older people. Work includes partnerships between individuals within the voluntary, statutory and private sectors, to enhance cohesion across cultural and generational divides. The Old Limehouse Town Hall, where Stitches in Time is based, was formerly the site of the Labour History Museum and was the repository for trade union banners.
MooCanoe – local canoe hire business – encouraging people to participate and engage more physically with the canal.
In addition, there was plenty of local engagement with our students on the canal bankside whilst the main workshop events were taking place aboard the barge boat ‘Lapwing’. Limehouse residents and people passing by on the towpath were encouraged to annotate their thoughts and ambitions on a timeline prepared by post-graduate students from Kingston University’s MA Landscape and Urbanism and PG Diploma Landscape Architecture courses.
- A builder from a neighbouring site wrote about his interest in the wildlife of the canal and how he talk to fishermen on the canal side about the species of fish they are able to catch…pike, perch and carp!
- Local interest and knowledge about bombing in the area adjoining The Cut during World War II – Tower Hamlets and Bromley by Bow was heavily bombed due to its location near the industry and docks of the East End. A number of raids damaged buildings in the area, and the Sun Mills building that occupied a site to the north of The Limehouse Cut was badly damaged on the first night of the London Blitz when incendiaries hit the mill. A V2 flying bomb also struck immediately to the south of Gillender Street in 1944.
The Inside Out Festival Festival was curated and produced by The Culture Capital Exchange – showcasing contributions made by London universities to the capital’s cultural life. The Culture Capital Exchange is committed to promoting the exchange of knowledge and expertise by providing a vital network between Higher Education, business and the cultural and creative sectors across London to mutual benefit. To read more about our ongoing collaborative project click below:
We would like to thank The Culture Capital Exchange for their sponsorship of this event and to Denise of Hidden Depths Canal Cruises for all her help navigating The Cut and providing ‘Lapwing’