“Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.”

After a century, ‘Mother’s ruin’ is once again distilled in the East End

(l to r) Our manager Danny Burke and East London Liquor Company founder Alex Wolpert (l to r) Our manager Danny Burke and East London Liquor Company founder Alex Wolpert

Whenever I ask colleagues what the best part about their job is, the answer is unanimous: ‘The variety - no two days are the same.’ Although many of us are creatures of habit – always sitting on the same seat on the bus, always driving the same route to work etc – it’s obvious that variety in one’s job is definitely a good thing.

I had one of those ‘variety’ days last week when I visited our Docklands office. I was there to speak to M&E colleagues who are busy installing LED lighting around our Docklands estate (West India, South, Millwall inner and outer docks and West India Quay). Volunteers help assemble the lights and when they’re all installed and operational, the Trust will save around £8,000 a year in energy costs and a similar amount in routine maintenance costs. The LED lights will also save 37 tonnes of CO2 a year. All good news. And it was a gloriously cold, crisp, cloudless day. The buildings and water sparkled, my colleagues were on good form and I had another of those ‘I love my job’ mornings.

From there, I went to Cannon Workshops to meet colleague Danny, who manages our property and looks after tenants here and at Bow Wharf. One of our newest tenants at Bow Wharf is the East London Liquor Company, a craft spirits producer which has been distilling London dry gin and smooth artisanal vodka on site since last July, bringing spirits production back to London’s East End after more than a century. The beautiful stills (one for gin or vodka and one for rye whisky) are works of art in themselves and form a stunning backdrop to a lovely welcoming bar. Founder, Alex Wolpert, was also very welcoming and showed us around the distillery (and, no, we didn’t sample the product).

As I came away I pondered on the fact that being shown round a gin distillery was a first for me and made quite a change from my usual routine. Variety, as William Cowper said, really is the spice of life.

Last date edited: 1 October 2015

About this blog

Liz Waddington

Liz Waddington is editor of The Source, the Canal & River Trust’s monthly staff newspaper. She has been in love with canals and their industrial heritage since her first holiday on the Grand Union Canal when she was 10 years old. Liz likes nothing more than getting out and meeting her colleagues on the cut. 

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