Elegy for an Industrial Estate flattened to make way for Luxury Apartments

A new film by Martin Fuller, with music by Pett Level Sounds, explores a vanishing way of life

FILM: Martin Fuller

WORDS: Gareth E Rees

MUSIC: Pett Level Sounds (Gareth E. Rees & Matt Frost)

LOCATION: Tower Hamlets, London.

Just off Bromley Hall Road in Poplar is a ramshackle area of salvage businesses and knacker’s yards, piled with mattresses, tyres, corrugated iron, air-conditioning units, reclaimed wood, and rubble sacks. Once a hive of activity, it is now abandoned and desolate,

In 2019, while researching a chapter about industrial estates for my book Unofficial Britain, I took a walk there with filmmaker Martin Fuller and my dog, Hendrix.

We wandered down Ailsa Street and Lochnager Street, between scree slopes of baby buggies, fridge freezers and office chairs. There were skips stacked up along the lane, as if waiting for a larger skip to take them away.

Behind a landslide of junk stood the building of a company that manufactured Indian and Pakistani clothing; a bricked-up window had the words ‘SNACK BAR’ engraved on the stone lintel from the days when this was a bustling place of work.

Now its time was almost up. This whole area was about to be redeveloped into flats.

This is Martin’s film of that walk, combined with footage of how the place looks now, flattened and empty, ready for development. It’s accompanied by a music track I have written with my collaborator, Matt Frost.

Here is our elegy for an industrial estate, and a vanishing way of life.

For more films by Martin Fuller, check out his Vimeo page.

Or follow him on Twitter here.

For more psychrock pscyhogeography from Pett Level Sounds, check this out: The Tragedy of the Hastings U-Boat.

More Articles for You

A Walk Through the Pre-Industrial Landscape of Heathrow’s Hinterland

Marcus Liddell explores the semi-rural environs of London’s largest airport

The Incident of the Blindfolded Hypnotist and the Ilford Car Crash

Dan Carney tells the little-known tale of a very unusual car crash in 1977

The Sperm Whale and the Volvo 245

WORDS & PICTURES: Peter Riley – this is an extract from his book, Strandings (Profile Books, 2022) When I was …

A High Speed Car Tour of the Tennent’s Brewery, 1986

LOCATION: Glasgow WORDS: Gareth E. Rees From the 1960s until the 1980s, my late grandfather, George Wright, was a sales …

Ghosts of the Motorway

A haunting new video for a modern motorway ballad evokes memories of journeys past

Abandonment, Trespass and Flood: Unofficial Britain’s Strange & Unsettling Reads of 2021

Gareth E. Rees with his annual list of books about landscape, memory and culture