A trip to Docklands

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 01/16/2006 - 08:59

Yesterday, we went on a trip to the Museum in Docklands. It’s a family favourite, and I’d recommend it. There is a great under-12s area called Mudlarks, which is relaxed yet adventurous, and more imaginative than your run-of-the-mill soft play area. After a session in there, your kids will usually go along with a visit to the upstairs galleries which, along with model ships, tea chests and dockers’ hooks, has some interesting stuff about union organisation on the docks (including some rank-and-file bulletins), and about the community resistance to the ‘regeneration’ of the area.

But I feel an urge to pass a few more comments about Docklands and our journey to and around it.

Firstly, there’s a bloody TV screen on the 277 bus, showing wall-to-wall adverts. So you drag your kids away from the telly for a fun and bracing day out, get on the bus and … they are glued to the flamin’ box again!

Secondly, Docklands has several lifts between its various outdoor levels, and the expected quota of bus stops. It seems that each of them has this odd little sign attached to it, reading as follows:

PRIVATE PROPERTY

Conditions of access

This is private property and no right of way, public or private, is acknowledged over it. Any use of this land is with the permission of the landowner.

The ways on this land have NOT been dedicated as highways, bridleways or footpaths nor is there any intention to so dedicate them.

… Which, to my mind, might as well say: “Proletarian scum are only permitted to park their unwashed arses on this bus stop due to the grace and favour of your masters. And don’t you forget it.”

What do you mean – no public right of access to a bus stop? It’s a bus stop, for heaven’s sake! Public transport, you know.

It’s probably to do with the whole area being privately owned or something, but it certainly made this TV review seem timely.

Finally, I actually really like the area. Especially if you go there on a Sunday, when all the suits have deserted it. Lovely waterside, bridges, river views, coffee bars etc. And the aforementioned rather nice museum. The capitalists and the rich certainly insist on the best in the places they inhabit.

Imagine if the trade union movement called a general strike demanding that every worker have the right to a landscaped city square with benches, trees and fountains right outside their workplace so they could have a relaxing lunch break every day. There would be hysterical outcry at our cheek. But the bosses make damn sure they have it.