First Year Geographers travel to East London for important fieldwork

East London is an ever changing landscape, which makes it a perfect location for geography fieldwork. 123 First Year students were given the opportunity to explore 2 main areas on Wednesday 22 May to carry out some important fieldwork.

Head of Geography, Guy Boyes, was leading the excursion and explains what the students were searching for in their fieldwork.

"The students started the day by walking through the successfully regenerated St Katharine’s Docks, which acted as a model for how best to rebrand previously industrial areas of East London.The beautiful weather enabled us to walk along the wooden walkways and through the old warehouses, modern flats and restaurants.We then travelled further east towards Tobacco Dock, which has been far less successful in its own regeneration. Deserted and empty shops showed how the ambition of turning it into ‘The Covent Garden of the East’ had failed.

Students completed environmental quality surveys, pedestrian counts and took photos along the route to judge the success of the regeneration and the extent to which the past was evident in the current build environment.

This half of the day was capped off with an exciting joint venture with the Music Department at St George's College. Just north of Tobacco Dock is St George’s in the East Church. Thanks to the efforts of Head of Music, Richard Quesnel, the students performed a special celebratory hymn about St George in the church, alongside primary school children from the local area. It was a lovely opportunity to share links with another school in a St George’s Church, in a contrasting part of London and in our celebration year. 

The second half of the day took us to the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As well as exploring the beautiful landscape of the new park, we diverted onto Fish Island, to get a sense of the industrial history of the area. What struck students the most was how different the environment suddenly became. Gone were the open promenades with carefully planted flowers, in their place was graffiti covered walls, smoke blackened brick buildings and a mixture of new glass fronted flats. The change in scenery was a real eye-opening experience for the students, as they finished their trip with one final view over the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park and the Cement works in the opposite direction."

22 May 2019

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