Sunday, 15 May 2011
A Wander through West London (2) – Imperial Wharf
The site of London's newest railway station, on one of its old railway lines, it is one of a whole host of 'rehabilitations' that have taken place in this part of London, turning a once forgotten part of London into a busy thoroughfare.
But the main reason for building this station was Chelsea Harbour. A brand, new, spanking riverside development. Now, I am not one to advertise luxury apartments. Goodness knows that London is made up of enough overpriced rabbit hutches. But Imperial Wharf is an example of how the public sector really leads the construction of new infrastructure in London. Look, this detail is kind of dull, but the promise of new housing could be the driving force behind the latest extension to the tube network...meanwhile, here is a pic of the new Chelsea Harbour:
Chelsea Harbour, Imperial Wharf. Grand names they are, and it is a grand place to live. But for me, such a dream is far from my reach. Like many other resident of London, it is becoming harder and less rewarding to eke out a living in the Capital. This city likes to market itself as the greatest place on Earth, but the reality as always is more sobering. While the attractions of London, its diversity and its pulse is some of the most exciting on the planet, the reality is that the city is very much a place of haves and have nots.
If you make it in London, great, but the reality is that it is very easy to become marginalised and in the end forgotten. London is not a caring place. I see the division on a daily basis, and in the end few people in positions of power or influence care. We hear arguments of left, right, big society, deb reduction, but for a vast amount of people who live and work in London, these are all meaningless. There was no boom time and the so-called recession has merely been excuse to pin down wages while the price of basic living has spiraled to now unaffordable levels. To live in London is a struggle for the bulk of the population. And one day, when historians look back on 21st Century London, the question will be asked, how was it allowed to become this bad?
Good luck to the residents of Imperial Wharf. The part of London that you live in is shiny, new and clean. It is a testament to the success that your lives have brought you. But take a look up the railway line at Shepherd's Bush, for that is how the other half of London lives. Knowing that their lives will not even achieve an ounce of what you have. Now it is up to the people of these new, happy places to decide if they are happy living in their ivory tower. History suggests that they will be. And history also suggests that it will be another section of the population whose talents and skill are wasted on grinding poverty. Such is the city we live in. The greatest place on Earth?
My goodness, all this social commentary from a couple of pics. Wow! I even surprise myself...
Oh, and because I am essentially a frivolous person by nature, here is a pic of me taking health and safety at the new Imperial Wharf station very seriously: