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Hidden London: London’s Lighthouse in Blackwall

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Thames has been a highway for shipping for centuries, however the river is not considered a dangerous river to navigate. Therefore it is a suprise that near Blackwall which is around six miles from the centre of London is a lighthouse.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The lighthouse is located in Trinity Buoy Wharf which for centuries was occupied by the Corporation of Trinity House and used for storing buoys and other marine equipment with workshops for testing, repairing and making equipment.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the 19th century, a lighthouse was built, not to aid the Thames river traffic but as an experimental lighthouse. In the original lighthouse built in the 1850s,famous scientist Michael Faraday carried out tests in electric lighting for lighthouses. The present lighthouse was constructed in 1864 and was used to experiment with electric light and different coloured lights, the results being checked at Charlton across the river. After the Second World War, the lighthouse was used for the training of lighthouse keepers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The lighthouse and the workshops were closed in 1988 and the area was acquired by the London Docklands Development Corporation. In 1998, Urban Space Holdings Ltd took control of the site on a long lease. The site has been, and continues to be, developed as “a centre for the arts and cultural activities”.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Inside the Lighthouse is the Longplayer installation, which has been running since the 31st December 1999. In addition to the listening post, there are 234 singing bowls, used as a part of the 66-foot-wide orchestral instrument to perform Longplayer Live, are on display. The steel structure, designed by Ingrid Hu, was commissioned to display and store the bowls and was installed in autumn 2012. Each tier of the structure, containing 39 bowls positioned sequentially, corresponds to one of the six concentric rings of the Longplayer Live instrument. Longplayer is programmed so it will not stop until 2999.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Lighthouse is the main attraction in Trinity Buoy Wharf but there are a number of other attractions including a small installation in shed called the Faraday Effect, an old Trinity lighthouse ship which has been turned into a Music Recording Studio, Old shipping containers have been painted and made into office blocks called Container City.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

But perhaps the last thing you would expect to find in such a place is the Fatboy’s Diner, a genuine 1940s American Diner from New Jersey that was bought over from the States then had a few short stays in different parts of London before finding its present site. The Diner itself is a bit of a celebrity featuring in the film Sliding Doors, music videos and magazines.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Trinity Buoy Wharf is located near to the financial district of Canary Wharf and visitors can enjoy great views of the Thames and the O2 whilst drinking a milkshake at an original American Diner next to a lighthouse.

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