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Simpsons Historic Whaling Yard Plans

Enderby Wharf is one of the many riverside sites in Greenwich that face potential redevelopment, with designs in this case from Ian Simpson Architects.

The site sits about a mile to east of Greenwich Pier roughly halfway between there and the Millennium Dome, and although it was originally where the now-defunct British whaling industry started, these days it is a motley collection of largely post-war buildings occupying it. This history is memorialised in Moby Dick, with mentions of a ship, The Samuel Enderby.

Later the whaling yard was replaced by a factory that manufactured undersea cables, and again this set history with the first transatlantic cable fashioned here with Brunel's Great Eastern steaming up the Thames to pick up the cable to lay it along the sea bed.

Large ships could soon be returning again as part of the proposal for the site is a new cruise liner terminal of 17,312 square metres, but sadly it won't be able to host the largest of cruise ships. That said, if the Great Eastern steamed there it would be able to dock being 211 metres in length and 31,160 tons.

This compares to medium-sized passenger ships such as the 205-metre long, 37,848 metre MS Prisendan, and the 172-metre, 28,550 ton Seven Seas Navigator. A new east-west route will slice through the site straight to the terminal providing easy access from the River Thames to Christchurch Way.

In addition to the cruise terminal is the rest of the development, which will be residential led. Early versions of the designs, included a tower of approximately 30-storeys, and this was deemed by the architect as part of the preferred massing for the site, with the plans even getting as far as the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment in early 2010.

With each consultation the tower was gradually slimmed down, although the tallest building proposed, a 51-metre tall residential block is still proposed here along with a hotel tower between it and the cruise terminal.

Elsewhere, the majority of buildings that diagonally lie across the site were slimmed down in size to increase the space between them with their forms split up, and kinked to vary the shapes with their roof heights gradually being reduced from the tallest building.

Of particular importance to the design is the façade of those buildings facing the river. Drawing on the theme of water, Ian Simpson Architects plans cladding with aquatic tones and crystalline elements. As the buildings have had their forms split up this allows them to have two differing appearances, so the sides facing Christchurch Way that landlubbers will could boast more earthen tones, perhaps with the use of Cor-ten steel that the architect successfully used for Downing Developments in Manchester. This look should change along Christchurch Way culminating in gold at the far northern end of the site.

If approved, the development at Enderby Wharf will contain 770 apartments, a 251 bedroom hotel, 594 square metres of retail and commercial space, a 580 square metre skills academy, and a crèche and gym. The project is being developed by Mason Developments.
Enderby Wharf, London
Enderby Wharf, London
Enderby Wharf, London
Enderby Wharf, London