London - LABOURING CITY 1: Working River

Season 2, Ep. 1

In this episode, we see how the river defined the city – and how the riverside has been transformed, first by trade, then by finance.

We’re walking east from Tower Hill into Wapping, ending up next to St George’s Town Hall. The marshes and the mudflats next to the river were already filling up four hundred years ago. Two hundred years later, there was money to be made by building docks, forcing thousands to go elsewhere. By the 1960s, though, trade had moved on and the docks were closed, leaving the space empty again, to be exploited in the last half century in new profit-seeking ways. Through it all, the river attracted immigrants, eager to work, but vulnerable to the relentless demands of the market, the irregular rhythms of charity, and the simmering resentment of those who believed they were here first. We pick up their story in the next two episodes.

Click here for the map and full transcript.

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PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic

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