White Hart Dock was a lonely left-over space in Lambeth, London. No one had loved it for 50 (L) years.

It fills up with water twice a day, reaching almost a metre above Black Prince Road at spring tide, held back by the steel dock gates and grey retaining walls. It has been “half empty” for half a century; unused and ignored. It was about time it was seen as “half full”, at the very least.

Lambeth Arts (London Borough of Lambeth) set in motion a new story for this derelict dock, based on historical activity on this strip of the South Bank, celebrating the original reasons for the dock itself (proximity to Royal Doulton, import and export, a threshold to the city), and focusing on contemporary eco-issues. Artists Handspring Design were selected to produce a permanent, site-specific intervention, using sustainable and durable English oak for a series of sculptures in the public realm.

After a year in the making, the artwork was launched on 17th October 2009. Please do take a look around to see how it was made, what the big ideas were, and what it looks like freshly installed.

15 Responses to “Home”

  1. Ryan Says:

    Hey Joe, looks great – good job.
    Boat yard, skeletons, locks and quays, a place to eat my lunch – next time I’m in Lambeth.

  2. Sean Says:

    This structure will completely block the view of Westminster from my balcony, so I would be much happier if it were 10 feet lower.

  3. Joe - HandspringDesign Says:

    Great comment, Sean. We’ve actually been really careful to make sure that this isn’t the case. I’ve posted a new drawing on here, which can be found under “Feedback” on the menus, with a bit of explanation about this issue.

  4. Antonio Marruzzella Says:

    Thanks Joe!

    Very good art project, it looks very organic! Well done.

    I will be pleased to see it finished and come for the celebration, I live just on Black Prince Road. Please keep me informed.


    Antonio Marruzzella

  5. Joe - HandspringDesign Says:

    Good to have you on board, Antonio. Thanks for the comments. Maybe meet you there at the opening.

  6. Alan Says:

    Hey Joe

    The project looks great, I live on the second floor too so glad to see that the that our views won’t be obscured. Can you confirm that the dock will be cleaned out on a regular basis now? We have spent years trying to find someone responsible for this to no avail it would be a shame to mar the work you guys are doing with the rubbish that is brought into the dock daily on the tide

  7. Joe - HandspringDesign Says:

    Hello Alan.

    As well as stearing the Public Art project, Lambeth Council is leading the renovation/refurbishment of White Hart Dock. Work is starting on site to maintain the retaining walls, tidy up the steelwork, and to clear up silt and flotsum, debris and detritus. The plan was to fence off the tunnels that lead out to the river, using fitted metal grills. There is also a budget for future maintenance for the near- to mid-term future, again thanks to Lambeth.

  8. Iona Snashall Says:

    Congratulations to you all for such a brilliant idea and brilliant work!


    You all deserve a holiday?

  9. Alan Says:

    Well done Joe and team, you all worked very hard, it was really interesting watching it all come together. The timber is beautiful and the design works on this street really well. Thanks

  10. Antonio Marruzzella Says:

    Congratulations to you all for such a brilliant idea and brilliant work!

  11. James Says:

    I have seen the work which I think is fantastic – but what a competely ridiculous place to put it – you can sit on the seats and watch the four lanes of traffic roar along the embankment – lovely!!

  12. John Twigg Says:

    Hi – I was a Royal Doulton artist until 1975. I am currently contacting other artists in order to create an educational website listing their names, this will be invaluable to all. Many are still alive and unrecorded to the general public – I now have a list of over 500 artists. There will be much unrecorded information available, including limitless coloured photos of the older figurines, connecting the signatures to the relevant artists names and explaining individual techniques. In order to acheive a website of such significance I need varying information from all sources. I am requesting anyone to please help by offering information, the use of photographs or any other lead in the form of an email address or phone number.
    I am particularly in need of photos of such fine quality as your own of Hannah Barlow and was wondering if you would consider allowing me to use this.
    Thanking you – My best regards – John

  13. Ian Kemp Says:

    Years ago (more than 20) I used to work at what was the British Steel Building, and I used to walk past this on the way to work. I always wondered what this slipway was, and why it was abandoned but there was very little info.

    We were always going to climb over the gates and look around a low tide but never did, probably never enough beer! So glad to find out finally what it was, and to see the great work you have done.

    If anyone knows of any photos etc from inside he dock, or from the river side I’d love to know the link.


    Ian Kemp

  14. steve fin Says:

    I came across the White Hart dock the other day, having lived in Vauxhall for 10 years I was Pleasantly surprised.
    if you look over the wall of the dock there are some skeletal remains of boats which are part of this piece [ I think ?]..

    also the Royal Dualton building further down Black Prince road is worth a closer look for its tiles , stone carving above the doorway and architecture
    it would be a great shame if this building is ruined in anyway,.

    Ive read that the dock wasnt built for the royal Dualton factory, as it was built in the 15th century !.

  15. Liz Says:

    As the descendent of a family of barge builders, the Talbots, who lived in Fore Street, I am very pleased to see this beautiful piece of work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s