Just a short trip under the river from the Baroque pleasures of Greenwich there is an altogether different style of architecture. Welcome to Canary Wharf. This Manhattan in miniature is one of London’s two financial centres and as such is populated with some of the least popular people in the UK. Bankers.
Even before you leave the underground station you know you’ve arrived somewhere slightly different; the presence of a screen playing silent movies to a non-existent audience isn’t something you come across every day.
Then as you rise from the depths you begin to look up, which is what this place is all about.
Within these canyons of glass and steel you’ll find a plethora of big names from the financial industry including Barclays, Citigroup, Clifford Chance,Credit Suisse, Infosys, Fitch Ratings, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, KPMG, MetLife, and Morgan Stanley. Occupying some of the tallest real estate in the UK they literally and metaphorically look down on us mere mortals. (I did enjoy the incongruence of this taxi driver stopping to clean his cab in the middle of the road here though).
The plus side of all of the glass is that you can shoot some more abstract imagery, and there are even attempts to soften the impact with a little art and greenery. Just don’t expect to step on the grass!
You won’t be allowed to forget that time is money either!
Since the global financial crash bankers have been despised to the point where they are now trusted even less than estate agents due to a combination of unconstrained risk taking, mis-selling, rate fixing, money laundering. What has really stuck in people’s throats is that throughout all of this they continued to pay themselves enormous bonuses.
Now in using the infinity symbol to refer to this place in my post a few days back I’m not suggesting that their rates, profits or remuneration packages are quite so stratospheric, and indeed interest rates are at an all time low (unless you’re borrowing from a pay-day lender). Nevertheless, even the chairs they perch upon at lunch-time are high.