Following on from my last post, I may as well chronicle the pathways I followed through London, on our recent trip. The story started in Shoreditch. It therefore made sense to venture south to Whitechapel and eventually Wapping which is where the next part of the story took off.
It seemed strange to disembark outside the Whitechapel Gallery: this is where I found myself in April 2011 when I was writing and researching the first book in the series, ‘Beginnings.’ That book took place in 1972. So I wondered what I would discover about Wapping, 1992, which is the time and place, scene II, ‘Retribution’ is set.
Wapping’s proximity to the river gives it a strong maritime character, retained through warehouses and riverside pubs, such as the Prospect of Whitby. The area was transformed during the 1980s by the London Docklands Development Corporation; the warehouses converted into luxury flats and office blocks. From its seafaring past, an area notorious with pirates and criminality, it is easy to see how my anti-hero and arch villain, Ben, would be drawn to its modern cityscape – stockbroker by day – yet determined to pursue his darker criminal activities at night.
Further east, is Limehouse, an area close to Commercial Road (as described in Beginnings and home to the notorious park, Eleanor and Jake were chased across) but it was when I visited Limehouse the first time, I noticed it was also a popular area for joggers. There is a steel barrier that links to a walkway circumnavigating the wharf and this gave me masses of inspiration for another chase scene – but this time at night, when Ben is desperate to escape the surveillance of the police.
Ben is not about to be deterred. He is desperate to be accepted into a criminal gang run by London’s most terrifying king pin, even if it means taking a run around the docks under the cover of darkness, to throw the police off his scent. The place is quiet, where the proximity of the river Thames, its secluded steps and shadowy tunnels lends itself a scene that can be quite sinister in its portrayal…
So this the scenario and this is Wapping…
… and with two more areas to blog about, there’ll be a bit more coming soon.