Art & Culture
Newham fireworks light up the Royal Docks for the first time
The docks echoed with the sound of fireworks on November 3 against the backdrop of the Millennium Mills. In partnership with Newham Council, Royal Docks hosted over 13,000 people on Silvertown Quays for an evening of light displays, fairground rides, food stalls, and mulled wine – all with free entry.
The vast front of the Millennium Mills was floodlit all night in changing colours, lending its faded glamour to the night. Circus performers juggled flaming batons while illuminated acrobats strutted through the crowd on stilts. For the grand finale, fireworks along the length of the water’s edge lit up the Mills across the horizon.
The musical soundtrack opened with ‘As One’ by electronic musician and composer Jean Michel Jarre. It was a nod to Jarre’s historic concert, Destination Docklands, which took place on the site in 1988. He famously performed twice from a 1,000-ton barge floating in the Thames to some of the largest audiences ever seen at a UK concert, totalling an estimated 400,000.
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said, “The spectacular free fireworks display showcased what the Royal Docks can offer the community with the rich and interesting history of the area adding to the show,” while Sadiq Khan welcomed the area’s potential as “a major new cultural hub”.
November’s fireworks signalled the start of an ambitious arts and cultural programme in the Royal Docks, championed by both mayors, which will include a public art project across four sites in the area. Local residents and businesses, Khan emphasised, must benefit right from the start. The programme is also key, he added, for attracting investment, and raising the profile of this distinctive place and its “enormous potential”.
Sponsorship for the event was provided by Royal Albert Dock developer ABP, by Lendlease and Starwood Capital who are working together on the Silvertown Quays development, and by London City Airport and Excel London.
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The spectacular free fireworks display showcased what the Royal Docks can offer the community.
Rokhsana Fiaz, The Mayor of Newham
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