Friday, 7 June 2013

My trip across the Thames by ferry

A view of Woolwich Ferry August 2005
I began my 'Drawing my way round London' project with a sketch of the Woolwich Ferry. I can remember being spellbound with the view of the ferries travelling to and fro across the river and I made a note to myself to make a trip on it one day and nearly eight years later I finally did.

Little did I know back in 2005 that the North London Line would be closing for good a year later. So returning there a couple of days ago was a bit of a shock. The station buildings are shuttered up and look very small and Victorian next to the gigantic Crossrail project that has sprouted up next to it.

There are building works everywhere nearby but I finally managed to make my way to the queue for the ferry. Years ago I proved to be a useless sailor on the one occasion I spent a weekend on a yacht but I do get a buzz from travelling on ferries because it feels like an adventure and I enjoy looking at yachts from a safe distance (like on shore).

All the freight vehicles and cars stay on deck and the passengers go below. There may have been about a dozen of us on foot but there was probably enough space for at least a 100 or more people. It felt quite eerie with so much space for so few people. The clanking sounds were impressive as was the gloomy light. All too soon it was over and we had to disembark.

My plan was to find a spot to do a sketch looking back to the north bank. Here I was trying out a combination of watercolour paint and Inktense pencils which are water soluble. I also had the treat of watching a very large, two masted yacht sail past while I worked.

View of North Woolwich bank from the south side

My outing finished with a walk through the Woolwich Foot tunnel back to the north bank of the river. Like the Greenwich Foot tunnel it goes under the Thames but unlike the Greenwich tunnel, which is quite popular, I was the only person using it so I only had my over active imagination and the sounds of my own footsteps for company. I was very relieved when I finally climbed up the steps on the other side and reached daylight again.

My outing in photographs in no particular order