Wednesday 25 September 2013

The Great River Race, 7th September 2013

Build The Lenox took part in the Great River Race earlier in September. The team were not involved in the rowing race itself, but were invited to have a presence at the start and end of the race. The programme for the race had a large centre spread over six pages focusing on the history and future of Deptford Dockyard, with a special feature on the Lenox project.

We have extracted some points from the article by Sylvia Wicks here:
"There are three realistic options for the future of our Royal Docks: replacement with high-rise blocks of flats; preservation as a heritage visitor site linked with Greenwich; or the reinstatement as an interactive heritage visitor site and working boatyard.

"An application to build multiple high-rise blocks of luxury flats has been made to Lewisham Council. If it is approved, the docks will be lost forever. In future, Great River Race coxes might need to manage wind gusting between more tall buildings.

"Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site, is downstream from the Race start....It is The Royal Docks that authenticate Greenwich's historical Maritime significance....

"World Heritage visitors are generally well educated, mostly well informed, and often well travelled...Visitors now want to see the real thing..."
She then goes on to make the case for the Lenox, and for the establishment of a Maritime Enterprise Zone. She makes the point that London needs a substantial, centrally located working boatyard, since only three remain in London.  
"It seems perverse to destroy a restorable, urgently needed dockyard in order to build blocks of flats on a flood plain....Reinstating the Royal Docks as an interactive Heritage attraction with a contemporary working boatyard would show visitors that the maritime facilities developed, and still available, at these Royal Docks over some 500 years, remain appropriate for use today."
To read such advocacy was a great boost to the Lenox team. Meanwhile, at the start of the race on Millwall slip, opposite Convoys Wharf, the Lenox skipper Julian Kingston was interviewed by various film crews in his guise as John Shish, the master shipwright. 

After the last rowers had left the starting point, the Lenox team joined the organisers, VIPs and a Dutch brass band aboard the committee boat which ran along side the rowers. 

Further up river the Lenox team had the opportunity to cheer on the rowers from Deptford's Ahoy Centre, who had several rowing teams taking part.

 A great reception for rowers at Richmond...

More pictures can be found on the Lenox website.

Previously, in August, the Lenox Project took part in the South Bank's Festival of Neighbourhood, as one of the local community groups invited to participate in My Deptford. They were also met with great interest and support at that event. Read more here.

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