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Departure // Mick Dean


Departure is a community arts centre on Commercial Road, East London, in the Parish of Stepney.
Once this was the heart of ‘docklands’ and the home of many of my ancestors. I have traced their records back to 1842 so far. Most of them were dockers and one of them, my great great grandfather, liked a drink or three. He regularly used to end up on the pavement outside the pub on Friday night. He was remembered in our family as a ‘black sheep’. We were always warned never to ‘end up like him’, in the gutter in Wapping. I have had a fascination for Wapping ever since.

So there I was, examining the gutter in Wapping and wondering what sort of a life he had in the 1880’s, when the idea for this exhibition was born. I have always loved the effects of erosion on road surfaces and have had a number of exhibitions featuring this. The cobblestones of Wapping are a wonderful example of the durability of Victorian road makers, but are now showing their age….in no small part, possibly, due to the sudden impact of my great great grandfather!

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