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Within Worlds Docklands Walk

In 1931, Virginia Woolf wrote that, “with the sea blowing its salt into our nostrils, nothing can be more stimulating than to watch the ships coming up the Thames.” Now that maritime past of the port of London is all but lost, erased by decades of development. On this walk, historian Simeon Koole retraces that world. In conversation with the film Sunless Haven, which opens this year’s festival, Koole takes us to the remaining traces of the seamen’s lodging houses, wharves, water stairs, “strangers’ homes” for Asian sailors, and streets of London’s first Chinatown. Along the way, we’ll ask: how were the bodies and senses of docklands inhabitants shaped by global connections – and how has this changed today?