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Tobacco Dock becomes home for Olympic troops

Tobacco Dock becomes home for Olympic troops

The Olympics are coming to Wapping’s Tobacco Dock! Well, the troops are at least.

Reports in the national press state Tobacco Dock will be home to an unspecified number of our armed forces needed to plug the gaps left by G4S security problems.

The Ministry of Defence has not yet confirmed the story, but members of the military have been seen inside Tobacco Dock today.

An announcement is expected in the House of Commons this afternoon and the Ministry of Defence also plans to issue a formal press release, which we’ll share as soon as it is available.

Troops outside Tobacco Dock in Wapping Lane - 16 July 2012

Troups outside Tobacco Dock in Wapping Lane - 16 July 2012

Inside Tobacco Dock

Despite recent reports to the contrary, likening the Grade 1 listed warehouse to a prison, it has mostly been well maintained and is protected by 24 hour on site security.

The replica pirate ship shines (when the sun does), as can be seen when it was opened up here for the September 2011 International Tattoo Convention:

Image Crowds at Tobacco Dock pirate ship in September 2011

Crowds gathered around the Tobacco Dock pirate ship for the International Tattoo Convention - September 2011


Tobacco Dock was last opened up for a public event raising funds for children in poverty in October 2011 – it looked anything but gloomy inside:

Inside Tobacco Dock for charity event during October 2011

Inside Tobacco Dock at a charity event raising money for children in poverty - October 2011


Although a total of an extra 3,500 troops have been brought in to London at the last minute to boost the London Olympics 2012 security it is as yet unclear how many will be based in Wapping’s Tobacco Dock.

We’ll update with the formal Ministry of Defence press release as soon as it is made available.

But whatever the number the sudden influx should provide a short-term boost to the local Wapping economy; especially the pubs and the fish and chip shop!

Please view the latest update on Tobacco Dock here.

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  • http://twitter.com/SredniVashtari SredniVashtari

    I don’t mind public sector security forces billeted in Tobacco Dock (just as well it was empty eh govt?). Squaddies in pubs are the least of the inconveniences we’ll have as a result of the Olympics – cf the new ‘travel’ routes which effectively cage us, night time deliveries, and local health service disruption, for several weeks. At least they are not on our roofs with missiles like other areas within what has inevitably become a militarised east London. I am sure these chaps would rather be here than Afghanistan, but are not happy about any cancelled leave. I sincerely hope they will not be over-exercised during the Games ie there will be no terrorist incidents or atrocities like 1972. I feel safer with them about than G4S employees – that’s not a slur on the latter but G4S.

  • http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk What’s in Wapping

    The MoD still haven’t formally confirmed as they must wait until a minister announces it in the House of Commons (hopefully today…). 

    The reality, as anyone here knows is that there are troops in Tobacco Dock. We did have a very brief chat yesterday and as soon as they are able to they want to engage the community and cause as little disruption as possible, but can’t say anything official until the announcement is made. 

    We’ll post updates as soon as we have any new information to share

  • Fiona Hawkins

    I’m sure the troops would rather not be here either, the G4S mess and the government managing it are totally to blame. After the Olympics starts a bit of extra noise (if there is any) will be the least of our worries. What about the constant stream of helicopters filming that hover over at all hours of the day and late into the evening? They seem to be free to do whatever they like and if it continues as it has, they’ll drown out the sound of anything else anyway. The sooner the Olympics is over the better!

  • lila

    I for one am thrilled to have the troops here – welcome to Wapping fellas! Hear your leave’s been cancelled – hope you can enjoy yourselves and Wapping! 

  • PB

    Oh dear I seem to have touched a nerve! My credentials are not in question Mark, I am a resident of Wapping and a payer of LBTH and income taxes (amongst others). For the record I have profound respect for our Armed Forces, who never let us down, and protect such fundamental freedoms as the ability to express opinions without fear of reprisal.

    That said, my point was more that I like electricity, but choose not to live in Sellafield, like the Armed Forces, but choose not to live in Catterick, and I like to take advantage of working sewers, but don’t want KEMP closed so they can build a new one.

    I think your proposal of a public meeting is a great idea, you would definitely see me there, and yes I would ask questions about the impact of last-minute decisions taken in a panic. This Borough, and Wapping in particular, will incur a disproportionate Amount of pain as it is from the Olympics, particularly in the lack of events in the Borough, and the traffic restrictions imposed on Wapping. I am very concerned that there will be impacts from this new decision too, that will be detrimental to tranquil Wapping life. I am grateful to you for pointing out that you don’t share those fears – I am slightly concerned by the aggression with which you state your views, and your desire for me to leave the country since we are in disagreement. Quite a non-sequitur! Thank goodness I have the Armed Forces to protect my freedom of expression, without having to have had membership of them as you suggest.

    Rather than see this WiW article enjoy a mini Daily Mail comments section, I would be most grateful to anyone able to provide more constructive feedback to my original post, viz, the plans in place to mitigate the undoubted impact of this rash, last-minute decision.

  • TonyRoome

    Great use of the place – and I imagine the Ramsgate and the Swan will be happy. Mind you, the queue for rolls is going to be something to behold!

  • http://twitter.com/baynesmark Mark Baynes

    Dear PB

    Have you always been such a snob or is this a recent development? And an anonymous snob at that – if you hold these views so strongly PB why do you hide behind your initials? 

    You aren’t a G4S director are you PB?

    Would you be afraid to state your views face to face in public? Would you be willing to state your views face to face with those you criticise? Knock on the door of Tobacco Dock and have a chat with the sentry?

    I doubt it somehow.

    When you come down off your high horse you might like to reflect on the fact that the only reason you or I or any of us can enjoy the benefits of Wapping and London and our country is because men and women of the Armed Forces protect us.

    Have you ever served your country? My guess would be not.

    I for one unreservedly welcome the professional soldiers who have come to help our capital out during the Olympic Games.

    I and I hope the vast majority of the residents of Wapping will be making a point of saying hello to the personnel stationed in Tobacco Dock and making them feel welcome for the duration of their stay.

    As for you PB, if you do not have the courage to identify yourself with your own views on a website you would never have the courage to put your life on the line and possibly die like 415 men and women have done in Afghanistan.

    And as to taking measures to reduce noise pollution I would suggest you leave the country. Permanently.

    Mark Baynes

  • PB

    Good for local businesses – not good for local residents, I fear. Are we now facing weeks with 500-3000 squaddies out on the lash in Wapping every night?

    I chose to live here because of the rare tranquillity close to the centre of a major city – if we are to become a mini-garrison town for the next several weeks I would like to know what measures will be taken to mitigate the incremental noise pollution, as well as other potential impacts.