We went to Canary Wharf by bus – a long and depressing trip through rather distressed areas. We returned on the driverless Docklands Light Railway. This is fast, efficient and interesting, travelling above and underground, serving
Greater London with 45 stations and continually being extended. 86 million passengers used it in 2011. (Photos, click to enlarge: www.thetrams.co.uk/dlr/trains/pics.php )
However, I’ll never forget our journey because on boarding I looked for a front seat instead of sitting down on the first vacant one. The train started with a terrific jolt and the next thing I knew I was sitting, rather elegantly I must admit, on the floor facing in the opposite direction and staring at rows of shocked faces!
Canary Wharf on the Isles of Dogs in East London is one of the two principal financial districts in London. It houses the headquarters of many major banks and international concerns. 100,000 people work in this very upmarket area. It is noted for its modern tall buildings and skyline on the Thames, of which One Canada Square – mistakenly called Canary Wharf – is the best known. Until 2012, when The Shard overtook it, it was the tallest building in the UK. It is very striking with its pyramid roof above 50 storeys of mainly office accommodation. The ground floor has a wide variety of shops. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canary_wharf for detailed information and photos.
What I remember most about One Canada Square are the masses of people streaming into the shopping malls, the huge number of eating places and especially fast food takeaways, the well placed and clean toilets, the DLR stations and trying to work out the ticket buying system, fountains, water, sculpture everywhere and the lovely and quiet garden walk with small parks where we sat and ate wonderful London sandwiches. It was a wintry spring day when we were there. For pictures of Jubilee Park built above the railway station see www.gardenvisit.com/garden/jubilee_park_canary_wharf
I also remember the walk along the Thames and the new developments sprouting up everywhere in Canary Wharf and the fact that in so vast an area I couldn’t see a sign of a church. It seemed the ultimate secular city! So imagine my surprise and delight when emailing churches I found St Peter’s Barge!
Canary Wharf falls within the Church of England parish of St Anne’s, Limehouse. This church was built in 1727 when Queen Anne was on the throne. Realizing it would have little impact on those working in Canary Wharf, St Anne’s started lunchtime meetings in pubs and winebars there. St Helen’s Bishopsgate – the medieval church next to the “Gherkin” - joined in this effort.
In 2003, a Dutch freight barge was bought by the St Peters Canary Wharf Trust. After being suitably refitted it sailed across the North Sea to its permanent mooring in Canary Wharf. See www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/general-view-is-seen-of-the-st-peters-barge-march-23-2005-news-photo/52469763
St Peter’s Barge is moored at the West India Quay near the Museum of London. Two services are held on Sundays as well as a Sunday school and crèche. Midweek lunchtime services take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Three Church of England ministers are on the staff. For more info see www.stpetersbarge.org
May God bless St Peter’s Barge and all who worship in her!
PS: I’ve added another 6 settings to my SINGING SCRIPTURE page.