By Samay Chakraborty and Prabhjap Singh
On Friday 13th May Year 12 geographers had a field trip to Stratford and Canary Wharf that was fantastic, informative and a fun experience for all of us. We saw how these places developed from being derelict and desolate sites to now being some of the most highly developed and expensive areas in the UK. As soon as we walked out of the Canary Wharf Station, we were hit by the reality of the business world as we saw men and women carrying heavy briefcases and as we turned we saw the monstrously high and powerful presence of One Canada Square, which stood out from the rest of the buildings with its iconic pyramid on top of the skyscraper. Arriving at the London Docklands Museum we learnt about the history of regeneration in Canary Wharf and all the investments that took place in order to develop docklands to its prosperous state today.
Talking to the locals in Canary Wharf who shared their experiences of their daily lifestyles gave us a valuable insight of how life is really like in the area. We soon concluded that most workers and locals have seen an improvement in their quality of life. One of the most memorable moments was the hustle and bustle of the London Underground, while travelling in a group and trying our best not to get lost! We had a ride on the automatic tramlines, which were built upon a historical railway infrastructure, part of the Canary Wharf and Stratford regeneration project. We saw old, preserved buildings repurposed for the wants and needs of today which was a striking yet beautiful contrast to the modern skyscrapers one can see in Manhattan, for example. Afterwards, we crossed the Thames on the Emirates Cable Car viewing the skyline of Canary Wharf where we had a lot of fun eating ice cream at 90 metres above the ground, although perhaps not so much for those amongst us who were afraid of heights.
Our trip to the Olympic Park was also very exquisite and we saw the regeneration first-hand from what was once one of the dullest areas of London. A security officer we spoke to stated, “Stratford turned from brown to green.” And finally, to finish the field trip, we ended at the Westfield Shopping Centre, where we ate and also did a bit of shopping.
The sensation of travelling on the tube, walking through the business world of Canary Wharf and seeing first-hand the regeneration of Stratford is something that a classroom cannot recreate. This is one of the beauties of geography, being able to apply and perceive the future of the world. The trip was kindly funded by our school.