Meandering from the Thames up through Poplar, Bow, Stratford, Clapton and beyond, the River Lea had a huge impact on the development of industry in east London. The materials that travelled up the River – silk, calico and jute – drove innovation and creativity in the textile trade. With little left to betray this rich history, this walk is a chance to explore the historical remnants in the exhibition before walking the riverbanks where they were made.
Author of Cinderella River, the Evolving Narrative of the River Lee (2017), Read is the perfect guide to this iconic waterway, as his book derives from walking the Lea – observing and documenting its growth, wildlife, social issues and impact.
Meet in the Nunnery Gallery at 2pm – the walk will last for around an hour and is on the River towpath, flat and easy terrain. Families are welcome.
Simon Read is a visual artist and Associate Professor of Fine Art at Middlesex University London. He currently lives on the Suffolk Coast where through a life spent afloat upon a converted barge, he has developed a strong sensitivity to coastal and estuarine systems. Over at least the past fifteen years he has sought to plough this back into both his practice as an artist and his academic research, believing that the cultural community has a duty to contribute to a deeper understanding of environmental change and to promote a stronger sense of public engagement.