ONE STRATEGY FOR urban sound-hunting is to spend time poring over maps until an intriguing-looking enclave is found somewhere. Cuckold’s Haven on the Barking Creek in east London was one such find.
Doesn’t it look good on the Ordnance Survey map? A scrap of land not yet built upon or ground beneath the millstone of development into another windswept car park. The name ‘Cuckold’s Haven’ suggests isolation, a place where men who’d been cheated on could go and mope by themselves.
This morning I found someone else had got there and, appropriately enough, done something to Cuckold’s Haven. Like much wasteground near the old docks, this overgrown patch has been fenced off. Perhaps the soil there is contaminated, but perhaps it also reflects official intolerance of unsupervised and purposeless places. People must be kept out of them in case they get up to something.
A short footpath crosses Cuckold’s Haven but the entrances at both ends were blocked, with a council notice stating that this was because of works expected to last 30 weeks. The notice was dated March 2010. Further north was the Town Quay bridge crossing the Barking Creek, where this recording was made:
I’m not sure the video really adds much to the recording, except that if you didn’t know what Barking Creek looks like, you do now. Charles Veasey’s Hmsg Spiral Map (mentioned in this blog post) wisely limits its video clips to a length of ten seconds each.