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Rainham Marshes/Rainham Barges

13th June 2021 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Rainham Marshes/Rainham Barges

This unique artist-led walk and performance starts from Rainham Station, leading us out along the London Loop pathway, to the Concrete Barges at Coldharbour Point. Join this exploratory collaboration as part of Estuary Associate programme and Kinetika’s T100 Dreaming.

These barges were the site for Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s extraordinary sonic event 51º 29.9’ N , 0º 11’ E, performed in 1987. In visiting and re-experiencing this waterlogged war time grave site, Inspiral’s walk explores aspects of our watery commons; in the ways we memorialise, preserve, cover up or alter our environments and the other stories we tell about contested histories.

On the day, InspiralLondon – as a collective – offers an improvised musical performance, on the edge of the Thames. This unique performative visit will include a brief evocation of the Concrete Barges performance given by Bow Gamelan Ensemble member Anne Bean. We will also be livestreaming and sharing this event experience on our web platform.

Afterwards, you are invited to walk with us towards Purfleet, along the Thames to Mardyke Creek, to join in Kinetika’s walking tour and celebrations. The route enjoys views of RSPB Rainham Marsh, and we will be guided by locals along the Estuary to end at High House. Rainham Marshes/Rainham Barges is part of a walking event curated by Kinetika that includes a tour of Purfleet, a world-food picnic and introductory welcome to Kinetika’s projects including Beach of Dreams.

Rainham Concrete Barges were constructed during the Second WW. Their hulls formed from ferroconcrete — concrete reinforced with iron. They were used as oil barges or as floating structures to support temporary docks for D-Day Landings or for other wartime improvised engineering. 16 remaining Barges were given a new lease of life after the storm floods in 1953. Towed back to the Thames, then sunk, to shore up damaged flood barriers against future tidal surges. They remain lodged in the mud supporting other migrants: the annual wintering of rock and water pipits, and roosting sites for other birds.

Concrete Barges

51º 29.9’ N , 0º 11’ E documentary TV event created specifically for an Alter Image (Channel 4) performing Concrete Barges in Rainham, Essex, in 1987. The Bow Gamelan Ensemble chose to work with the concrete barges near Rainham where they had previously explored sound on several of their many river trips into the estuary, recognising the huge differences in sound from low to high tide. They were filmed for over ten hours as the tide ebbed and flowed capturing the massive energy of this amount of incoming water and the ways one could harness this power to shift and shape sound.

Bow Gamelan Ensemble – The artists Anne Bean, Paul Burwell (1949 – 2007) and Richard Wilson extensively explored Thames riverscapes by boat, which fired their imaginations. Visions started to germinate and their shared excitement of the countless possibilities within the visual dynamics and unexpected sounds, often on vast scales, stimulated the ideas that became embedded in the group DNA.

Kinetika is an internationally renowned company, with unrivalled reputation for working with local communities on projects that change the way people feel about where they live. From local community walks in Essex to high streets and city squares across the UK, out to the Great Wall of China, Ethiopia and West Bengal.

For all Inspiral Ticketing visit our: Eventbrite

Watery Investigations Launch as part of Estuary 2021 Associated Programme: see here



Part of Kinetika/T 100 Dreaming – ‘Grow Your Own’ – Purfleet-on-Thames (10am -4pm)
Meet the Purfleet-on-Thames community and hear about their journeys and connection to the place through the sharing of food, recipes and music. Together we will capture our dream for a sustainable community by creating a recipe for Purfleet.

With contributions from Heavenly Greens Fruit & Veg, The Backstage Centre, South Essex College, local community groups and in partnership with developers PCRL (Purfleet Centre Regeneration Limited), walkers are invited to this celebratory event on the theme of sustainable communities, culminating in a shared picnic made from local produce.

This walk split into two parts – with walkers coming from both Purfleet and Rainham.
10am-12.30pm: Meet at Rainham RSPB. This circular walk to Rainham Concrete barges will include an event hosted by Inspiral London inspired by the Bow Gamelan Ensemble performance in 1987.

12.30-4pm: Meet at Rainham RSPB. This walk will visit the Heritage and Military Centre for a ‘welcome to Purfleet’ talk and then lead to Heavenly Greens Fruit & Veg stall to meet local residents who will join us on the walk to High House Production Park for a picnic. Heavenly Greens Fruit & Veg customers will share a few of their recipes from around the world.


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Rainham Station
Ferry Lane,
Rainham, RM13 9JA United Kingdom
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