Location: now Hand Car Wash, junction of George Street, Jude Street and the unsigned stub of Emily Street, Silvertown, London SE16
• It looks like Goswell Bakery has shut. I remember their sliced rye, its old-fashioned packaging. But Chan Brothers is still open for business. Across the way is the DLR, the spires of Canary Wharf. This was once marshland, a sprawling slum, a breeding ground for cholera and smallpox; now it’s a place in flux, cranes at the ready to tear down, start again. A brand-new block of flats has sprung up across from the Hand Car Wash, the site of The Rose. A pink umbrella is tangled in the barbed wire that lines the wall beside it; an empty lot wild with buddleia and willow herb, poised for development. We wonder who drank in The Rose: dock men, assembly line workers, West Ham supporters. It would have been an old-fashioned boozer, no fruit machines, no music. We watch the guys here now, buffing up BMWs and VW estates, Capital FM blaring over the sound of the Jet Wash. We find discarded air fresheners in the puddles; a blue plastic dolphin.
• Words Tamar Yoseloff / Photos Vici MacDonald
Below: the car wash that ate a pub. Bottom: exhibition display of field notes.