Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Back at Millennium Mills

London's Urban Sketchers had their second visit to the huge £3.5 billion Silvertown redevelopment site in the old Docklands earlier his month, currently a deserted, windswept wasteland, but within the next ten years or so, we are promised, a booming new high-tech neighbourhood of waterside homes, jobs, shops and leisure. We have been invited to record the changes to the 62-acre site as work continues, although the major building work has yet to begin.

Since our last visit, the changes are, it must be said, not too obvious. But with asbestos removal complete, this time we were able to draw from the 11th-floor roof of Millennium Mills, a cavernous, derelict flour mill on the site that is under restoration. From its roof we could trace the Thames snaking through East London communities on its way to the coast, with the skyline of the city's financial district in the distance to the west.

The place has a gritty charm. It's popular with urban explorers and location managers. From the rooftop we could see police cars and the flames of a burning vehicle on a distant part of the site – surrounded by a film crew. And for all the rubble, nature has a grip: the sound of birdsong rises in between the roar of planes at nearby City Airport.

You can find more about Silvertown and images by the visiting team – (above from the left) Adebanji Alade, me, Jo Dungey, Isabel Carmona, Simon Privett, Simone Menken, Nick Richards and Daniel Lloyd-Morgan – on the London Urban Sketchers blog, and there's more about our first visit here. Our thanks to Silvertown Development for inviting us.

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