I led a walk with with eight local people and three small dogs from Bow Arts Trust on Bow Road to the exhibition Everything comes from the Egg at Trinity Buoy Wharf on Saturday January 28th. This was a leisurely journey in very cold weather, passed in shared conversation, reflection and the companionable silence of contemplation of the everyday scene.
A short diversion from the riverside path above Three Mile Locks, took us to view the seven gas holders at Bromley by Bow from Twelve Trees Crescent. Have we lost the pride and care for detail the Victorians lavished on such utilitarian structures? The lower levels of each have sturdy Doric steel columns referencing classical Greek architecture, their upper, heavenward, tiers sport a lighter Ionian style.
Archie’s parents who I met on Three Mills Green a few days ago told me they were looking forward to seeing the site opened as a tourist destination, but I’d hate to see the loss of the comprehensively rusty patination which marks time and place so well, on these circular temples to the gods of heat and light.
Directly across the road, we entered through trees and shrubs to a war memorial for workers of The Gaslight & Coke Company. The customary bronze tablets, bearing the names of those who gave their lives in two world wars, are guarded by a tall stately lamp, a sentinel permanently lit to their memory. As one of our group of walkers pointed out, it was of course a gas light.
A few feet away, the scene is watched over by a life sized statue to Sir Corbett Woodall who was governor of the company from 1906-16. In his hand are a pair of spectacles, so unobserved at night, he can step from his pedestal to read the lists of the dead in the light of his lamp.