Changing London

I was in bicycling over Tower Bridge today and marveling at the bustle and energy of London. It bought back memories of twenty eight years ago when I was, for a brief period, a ship-broker in the City.

I had fixed a cargo of scrap from London going to I can’t remember where. It was not a glamorous business. However my broker friend and I decided it would be fun to go and have a look at the cargo being loaded down in the old London docks as we never normally saw what we were dealing with by telex or telephone across the globe. We went on his Norton Commando motorbike through the wastelands of Wapping where there was little building other than on the river itself. The docks, apart from redundant box-like cranes, our ship and its cargo were a scene of utter desolation, a monument to the work, or lack of it, of the dock-workers’ unions during the sixties and seventies. In the distance were the council block towers of Millwall and the industrial chimneys of Silvertown. Apart from the clattering of loading scrap the only noise was of seagulls fighting over a fish carcass.

We were standing on Canary Wharf.

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