Hidden in the heart of Docklands is a quirky creative hub with a rich history. Trinity Buoy Wharf is an incredible site in East London which is home to creative spaces, incredible views and London’s only lighthouse.
Like most of East London, Trinity Buoy Wharf is an area that has changed many times over the years. It is located where the River Lee meets the River Thames and is therefore rich in maritime history. Although the area has been redeveloped in recent years the site continues to provide information and artefacts of its past history.
History: Walking through the area tells the story of how the The Corporation of Trinity House was originally founded as a voluntary association of shipmen and mariners. They were granted a charter by Henry VIII in 1514. This included merchants from the infamous East India Company. The Wharf continued through the twentieth century to be responsible for buoys and lightships. It was involved in developing pioneering techniques in this field. It was finally closed in 1988 and left derelict for many years. In more recent years the space was been developed and is now a thriving creative hub in London.
Getting There: Trinity Buoy Wharf sits along the River Thames facing the 02 Arena. The location is a 10 minute walk from Canning Town Station (DLR and Jubilee Line) . It is also a short walk from the East India DLR Station. The 227 and D3 bus routes also pass close by. If you are driving there is parking onsite.
Trinity Buoy Wharf has an incredible location along the river, which also means its great to travel to or from there by boat. A designated boat service called the Predator runs from the O2 QEII Pier to Trinity Buoy Wharf Jubilee Pier. The service is £2 each way and operates at specific times during the day. The Thames Clipper services also run through Trinity Buoy Wharf.
We actually jumped on the Predator after we had finished exploring Trinity Buoy Wharf to go over to the 02 Arena.
Things to do and see: Trinity Buoy Wharf is home to a mixture of interesting and innovative projects and places.
As you walk through the area you can really see the history of the place. A number of historic buildings still exist including London’s only lighthouse. The surviving lighthouse was built in 1864. The purpose of the lighthouse was originally as a testing venue for new types of lamps and lighthouse technology. Michael Faraday, one of the most influential scientists of the time, even used the lighthouse to carry out carried out experiments.
In contrast to the historic buildings Trinity Buoy Wharf is also home to the contemporary Container City. Container City is a complex of studio and office spaces built from recycled shipping containers.
The are also a range of different creative spaces including studios, galleries, exhibitions and art installations. One studio we stumbled upon was that of Harry Dwyer and Charlie Waller, who made a houseboat entirely from recycled cardboard. The boat was made from 300 old boxes and floated on the River Thames – you can watch their journey with this project on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYsQ6eA5vG8 We saw a sneak peek of their next project – a boat made from recycled plastic bottles.
In addition there is also a parkour centre and the Royal Drawing School. Different events and performances take place throughout the year. The site can also be hired from private events. While we were visiting the site was actually being set up for a wedding, which meant certain areas were not accessible.
The sit has also been used as a filming location including the James Bond movie– The World is not Enough.
Food: The site is home to two food options. One is the a genuine American Diner called Fat Boy’s Diner and the other a cosy café called The Orchard Café. Menus and prices vary but both places offer good food with an amazing vibe and view of the River Thames.
Final Thoughts: Trinity Buoy Wharf is such an interesting part of London just waiting to be explored. It has a rich history and exciting future. The whole area is undergoing some big changes with new developments being constructed constantly. The area is definitely worth a visit to see the both the history and future of East London. For more information check out their website – http://www.trinitybuoywharf.com/