The Line: a modern art walk in East London

Meanwhile, after a year we have seen quite a bit of London. Well-known neighborhoods such as Shoreditch, South Kensington and Camden Town and districts that are in a transitional phase to become just as popular, like Peckham and Tooting. But there are still places in London that are lesser known, for example the more industrial area in East London. A place that’s in developing but still doesn’t have much attractions and visitors yet.

Start of the route at O2.
When you take walking ‘the line’ very seriously.

The creators of The Line should have thought so too, and came up with a great concept to attract more people to this part of London. In May 2015 they opened a dynamic exhibition in the outdoor area of ​​East London. A project that aims to bring modern and contemporary sculptures more along the waterside but also to encourage people to discover more of East London. Something I emphasized as well a few times during the walk we made. It forces you to see more of the environment, something I can appreciate and think is a really good initiative.

Richard Wilson – A slice of reality (2000)

The Line is a Community Interest Company, founded by Megan Piper and Clive Dutton. The project launched a big crowdfunding campaign in February 2014 and successfully raised more than £140,000 in less than eight weeks. Artists, galleries and collections were asked to submit work for participation, an independent panel was responsible for the final selection.

Walking along the Thames, passing the fourth art sculpture: Gary Hume – Liberty Grip (2008). In the back you see the Emirates Air Line.

The walk follows the Meridian Line and connects The O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula with Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. For some long distance you can use the under- and overground stations along the route. To cross the Thames I would encourage to take the Emirates Air Line, such an amazing experience.

Waiting for our ride with the Emirates Air Line.
Up in the air.

In general, the route is easy to follow, although we occasionally ran into some ambiguities. At crucial points, such as the start or an intersection, there is suddenly no signal board. Fortunately, you can always have a look at the website of The Line or Google Maps, but even then I think that the organization could have navigated the route a bit better on the go. Especially since they do use signs during the route.

Arrived at the Royal Docks.
Sign of The Line.

Anyway, it’s still a very nice adventure to see London from a very different point of view. There where the route starts at the O2 and the towers rise high in the air you will be suddenly in a remote industrial area with old factories, landfills and lots of green. But even here, when you continue the walk towards Aberfeldy Village and Bromley by Bow, you will see that a lot of space has already been subject to new construction projects. A big contrast between industry and new build with occasionally a huge art piece along the waterfront.

Ralf is explaining an art work to Lara. Damien Hirst – Sensation (2003).
Cody Dock, a creative and community hub on the River Lea in Newham , East London

It was remarkably quiet on the walkway. I wonder how many people actually use the route. But as an art lover, I would certainly not hesitate for a moment and encourage others to walk the Line. Although it is not only because of art, but also to explore a different kind of area in East London. A particularly beautiful setting to behold.

Walking along the river Lea.

We closed The Line at Abbey Lane Open Space where Lara could have some fun in a nice natural playground. The route takes about three hours and is well connected to the London network. Don’t expect a tourist spectacle or a nice pit stop at a fancy bar, because these are missing, so take something to eat and drink with you along the way.

Sweet little Lara on discovery with her mom and dad.

For more information about the walk and the artworks you can take a look at the website of The Line.


The Line, start/end of the walk: North Greenwich tube station or Stratford High Street London, e: info@the-line.org, www.the-line.org

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