Wandering past Tobacco Dock an hour ago I was just behind a group of visitors to Wapping who were being shown around by one gentlemen.
As they walked up the steps in front of me I heard him say “…and Tobacco Dock is just abandoned” or words to that affect. I have to admit to eavesdropping on any guided tours I see and this time felt I had to correct him.
A conference and exhibition facility in a unique historical setting
Which I did. And explained to him and his 20 or so guests that Tobacco Dock was alive and kicking and explained that it was now a conference and exhibition facility in a unique historical setting and if they had been there the day before they would have seen this for themselves.
(Then I gave them a potted Wapping history lesson for free naturally then off they wandered. Correctly informed.)
Perception is everything
I hope our visitors didn’t think me rude but it seems to me that the owners of Tobacco Dock are failing to explain to the world that they are open for business. Just a shiny website does not do it.
Apart from correcting errant guides in the last month or so I have had to correct an article in a local paper which also stated that Tobacco Dock was now abandoned and a flood of tweets from various people who have the same idea thanks to a journalist who does not do even basic research. And these are just the things I notice. How much else is out there which is just plain wrong?
How many other business people walk past Tobacco Dock and also believe it to still be abandoned? Is there anything to invite people to come inside and find out?
Ship-shape and Bristol fashion
Now I know the owners of Tobacco Dock want to make it better because only this week I saw someone doing some basic maintenance to one of the ships outside. Fantastic! Our local pirates would be proud!
The trouble is that lots of others still think the doors of Tobacco Dock are shut and it is just an abandoned shopping mall. How wrong they are.
Tobacco Dock shows how to keep heritage alive
Tobacco Dock is a key part of our community as it demonstrates how our heritage can be put to good use and keep it alive.
But please TD people, at least put a sign up telling visitors that you are open for business. The people of Wapping do not want Tobacco Dock to once again fall dark. And close its doors once and for all.