On board the floating church

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

My quest to visit parts of London that I have never properly explored before took me and Mary Ann today to Canary Wharf. (For any readers in the Philippines, this is the British equivalent to Makati.) The plan was to have a look round, take some photos, check out the shopping and visit the Museum of London Docklands. In the end we didn’t make the museum – that will have to wait for a future visit – but we managed the rest. I have to say that I was impressed; I hadn’t realised the size of the shopping malls – all underground. (Though I believe that this was the original ground level and it is the street level that has been raised up, Canary Wharf having been described as the ‘world’s largest roof garden’.) The way that the underground malls are linked to the basements of the office blocks reminded me of Hong Kong.

The Georgian warehouses on West India Quay

The Georgian warehouses on West India Quay

The modern glass fronted office blocks contrast with the remnants of the old docks: the remaining docks themselves, of course, and dockside cranes. Most impressive is the group of former sugar warehouses built in 1802 on the north side of the West India Dock. These house the Museum of London Docklands, a number of restaurants, a small shopping centre and apartments.

St Peter's Barge

St Peter's Barge - outside...

St Peter's Barge

...and in

Moored across West India Quay is St Peter’s Barge, the only floating church in the UK. Run by the Church of England, St Peter’s is a converted Dutch freight barge. We popped in to have a look inside and met the senior pastor, Marcus. We were both surprised at how spacious the multipurpose worship centre/meeting room is. St Peter’s runs lunchtime prayers and a Sunday worship service.

St Peter’s is the only church on the Canary Wharf Estate, although there is a chaplaincy team (two Anglican clergy and a Roman Catholic) based at 1 Canada Water, where there is also a multifaith Prayer Room. This offers a programme of midweek events, including worship according to Christian, Buddhist and Muslim traditions, and an AA group.

We decided we ought to leave Canary Wharf before the main rush hour started, but it was an interesting afternoon’s visit and I know I’ll return (perhaps when the weather is a little warmer) and check out the museum.

More photos here.


About Holloway Rev

Paul Weary is a Methodist minister living and working in Holloway, North London.
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