Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Docklands Walk Pt1 and 2 London 7th October 2014

On 7th October 2014 I headed out to London to do the Docklands Walk Pt 1 & 2 from my new book "London's Hidden Walks vol 1". I met my friend Dan and arrived at Tower Hill Tube Station. We exited and just outside the station is the statue of Roman Emperor Trajan and a section of the old Roman London wall.

Emperor Trajan Statue

We cross the road to The Tower Of London where they are commemorating 100 anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Each poppy in the moat represents each of the allied victims of WWI.

 We now walk around the corner and walk onto Tower Bridge. (built 1886–1894)

 We now walk down in St Katherine's Dock.  Opened in 1828 after merchants were frustrated at seeing their ships moored idly in The Thames for days or even weeks while waiting to be unloaded and all the while being vulnerable to pirates and the weather.

 Previously St Katherines Dock was dominated by the hospital of St Katherines by The Tower founded in 1147 by Queen Matilda.  By the early 19th century in the heart of a vast slum. The hospital and 11,000 inhabitants of the area fought the dock developers but lost. The residents were forced to leave and received no compensation with the exception of the hospital.
Irish labourers were called in to build the dock and St Katherine Docks Company engaged the engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) to design the docks.

 St Katherines Dock specialised in luxury goods such as ivory,spices,shells,sugar,rubber,wines,perfumes and marble.
Ivory House

"Gloriana" The Queen's Rowboat.
 The Gloriana is a 28.6-metre-long (94 ft) British royal barge. She was privately commissioned as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee, and was the lead vessel in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Marble Quay named after the fine stone imported here from Italy

"Dickens Inn" is a mock of an old galleried Inn but actually built on the shell of a Georgian building.


 We now cross the working replica of Thomas Telfords Footbridge, the original still sits across on the right as we cross.

             We now leave the dock and we reach Aldermans Stairs that leads down to The Thames.
                   We now reach Wapping High Street which has its origins in the late 16th century.
Former Port Of London Building c20th Century

Hermitage Basin
Hermitage Basin is one of the few basins to survive.The basins were pools of water that acted as conduits or holding areas between The Thames and the main docks to ensue efficient flow of traffic.Many basins have been filled in since 1980 when the last of the docks in London closed. The basins channel to The Thames is now closed.
Now as we walk along Wapping High Street we reach a park with superb view back to Tower Bridge.

 Further along we come up to The Town Of Ramsgate PH. The first pub on the site probably originated during the Wars of the Roses in the 1460s and was called The Hostel. During more peaceful times in 1533 it became known as The Red Cow, a reference to the bar maid working at the time.

 The notorious Judge Jeffreys was caught outside the ale house as he tried to escape disguised as a sailor on a collier bound for Hamburg after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which overthrew King James ll. Presiding over the Bloody Assizes after Monmouth’s unsuccessful rebellion against James ll, Judge Jeffreys had taken great pleasure in sending hundreds to their execution, and in abusing their attorney’s, which was a costly mistake as one of them recognised him resulting in his capture.
In 1766 the pub became known as Ramsgate Old Town and by 1811 it had again took on a new identity known as The Town of Ramsgate. The reference to Ramsgate became about after the fishermen of Ramsgate who landed their catches at Wapping Old Stairs.
They chose to do so as to avoid the river taxes which had been imposed higher up the river close to Billingsgate Fish Market. Ramsgate harbour of 1850 features in the pub sign and is also etched on the mirror near the entrance to the pub.Jeffreys was taken to The Tower Of London where he died a year later from a large kidney stone aggravated by his excessive drinking.

 The wine cellars were used as a holding cell by The Admiralty press gangs for those caught to join the navy.Criminals were often kept here also before beginning the dangerous journey to Australia.

St Johns Church
 Opposite the Town Of Ramsgate is the former churchyard of St Johns.The  Church tower is the only part to have survived The Blitz
On the right is the former Church charity school. The Church was built in 1756 and the school in 1760
 Up the road a little further we pass Turks Head cafe.
The Turk’s Head Company was established in 1992. It is an independent registered charity dedicated to improving Wapping. The charity is housed in a former pub, which has been rebuilt several times since the eighteenth century. Its name comes from a type of decorative knot and not a decapitated Turk. During World War 2, its eccentric landlady Mog Murphy kept the pub open all hours for service personnel and their families.
 We pass the John Orwell sports centre and behind are football pitches where Wapping Basin once was before being filled in.

Site of former Wapping Basin.
 We continued onto Reardon Street where we saw the plaque commemorating former Wapping resident Vice Admiral William Bligh. (9 September 1754 – 7 December 1817) Bligh was an officer of the British Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. A historic mutiny occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, 3,618 nautical miles  after being set adrift in the Bounty's launch by the mutineers.

 We now reached Tobacco Dock,It was constructed in approximately 1811 in the Docklands area of east London and it served primarily as a store for imported tobacco.At its north entrance stands a 7 ft tall bronze sculpture of a boy standing in front of a tiger. In the late 1800s, wild animal trader Charles Jamrach owned the world's largest exotic pet store, located on Ratcliffe Highway, near to Tobacco Dock. The statue commemorates an incident where a Bengal tiger escaped from Jamrach's shop into the street and picked up and carried off a small boy, who had approached and tried to pet the animal having never seen such a big cat before. The boy escaped unhurt after Jamrach gave chase and prised open the animal's jaw with his bare hands.

These are symbolic of the wine,spirits and animal furs once imported here.

 The two ships are replicas of an 18th century merchant ship and an American Schooner captured during the Anglo-American war (1812-1814).
 Tobacco Dock was turned into a shopping centre in the 90s but this is now closed and the dock is now used for exhibitions and events.
We walk further up the road and cross The Highway to St George-in-the-East. St George in the East is an Anglican Church dedicated to Saint George and one of six Hawksmoor churches in London, England. It was built from 1714 to 1729, with funding from the 1711 Act of Parliament.

 Here buried in the grounds are the victims of The Ratcliff Highway Murders, These were two vicious attacks on two separate families that resulted in seven fatalities. The two attacks occurred within twelve days in December 1811, in homes half a mile apart near Wapping. These were regarded as the most gruesome in the capitals history before being upstaged by Jack The Ripper in 1888.
The first attack took place on 7 December 1811 in the living quarters behind a linen draper's shop at 29 Ratcliffe Highway, on the south side of the street between Cannon Street Road and Artichoke Hill.
The victims of the first murders were the Marr family. Timothy Marr, whose age was reported as either 24 or 27, had previously served several years with the East India Company aboard the Dover Castle, and now kept a linen draper's and hosier's shop. He had a young wife, Celia, a 14-week old son, Timothy (who had been born on 29 August), an apprentice,  James Gowan, and a servant girl, Margaret Jewell.
 Twelve days after the first killings, the second set of murders occurred, at The King's Arms, a tavern at 81 New Gravel Lane (now Garnet Street). The victims were John Williamson, the 56-year-old publican, who had run the tavern for 15 years, Elizabeth, his 60-year-old wife, and their servant, Bridget Anna Harrington, who was in her late 50s.
The suspect John Williams (also known as John Murphy), was a 27-year-old Irish or Scottish seaman, and a lodger at The Pear Tree, a public house on Cinnamon Street off the Highway in Old Wapping.Williams never went to trial. On 28 December he used his scarf to hang himself from an iron bar in his cell. No one discovered this until just before he was to be taken for another hearing before the Shadwell magistrates.

 We now retrace our steps back past Tobacco Dock and turn into Raine Street where we saw the Former Raines Charity School dating from 1719 and retains the original statues of a boy and girl.

We follow around the back and turn onto Wapping Lane and cross over to Watts Street passing Turners Old Star PH. The pub is said to have been owner by artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, drawn to The Thames for the quality of light.
 We follow the way back cut through a park and come out opposite St Patricks in Wapping a Roman Catholic church. This church featured in the film "The Long Good Friday"
St Patricks in Wapping
 We are now following the Wapping High Street once more past former warehouses now flats and homes. This part of Wapping was known as Sailor Town and once had a choice of 37 pubs here.
 It was no surprise that crime was a problem in this area and this resulted in the foundation of Britain's first Police service-The Marine Police Force in 1798. The original force used rowing boats to patrol The Thames to catch local gangs such as River pirates,night plunderers, light horsemen,heavy Horsemen,Mud larks and scuffle-Hungers. This force was founded nearly 30 years before The Metropolitan Police Force. and became The Thames Division of The Met in 1839.

Next door is The Captain Kidd PH named after the famous pirate executed at Execution Dock in 1701.
Execution Dock was located by the Thames near to this pub and dealt with convicted pirates for over 400 years.
Pirates who operated on the seas and abroad would also be tried back in London.
The gallows were located by the Thames so that the tide could wash over the body three times.
More notorious pirates, including Kidd, were left to hang in a gibbet after being tarred, a type of metal cage, to deter other would be criminals.
Captain William Kidd was born in Dundee, Scotland, January 1645.The first records of his life date from 1689, when he was a member of a French-English pirate crew that sailed in the Caribbean. Kidd and other members of the crew mutinied, ousted the captain off the ship, and sailed to the British colony of Nevis. There they renamed the ship Blessed William. Kidd became captain, either the result of an election of the ship's crew or because of appointment by Christopher Codrington, governor of the island of Nevis. Captain Kidd and Blessed William became part of a small fleet assembled by Codrington to defend Nevis from the French, with whom the English were at war. In either case, he must have been an experienced leader and sailor by that time. As the governor did not want to pay the sailors for their defensive services, he told them they could take their pay from the French. Kidd and his men attacked the French island of Mariegalante, destroyed the only town, and looted the area, gathering for themselves something around 2,000 pounds Sterling.
He was hanged on 23 May 1701, at 'Execution Dock', Wapping, in London. During the execution, the hangman's rope broke and Kidd was hanged on the second attempt. His body was gibbeted over the River Thames at Tilbury Point—as a warning to future would-be pirates—for three years. His associates Richard Barleycorn, Robert Lamley, William Jenkins, Gabriel Loffe, Able Owens, and Hugh Parrot were convicted, but pardoned just prior to hanging at Execution Dock.

We ordered some pints of Double Four Lager from this Samuel Smith Brewery pub and sat down to drink them out in the garden overlooking the Thames.

We left the pub and continued on our way along Wapping High Street passing Phoenix Wharf and King Henry Stairs and then Gun wharf. The latter two names recall that Henry VIII's foundries here used in the production of cannons for his navy ships.

This is the end of Pt 1 of the walk at Wapping Station but we continue onto pt 2. We now move onto The Thames Path and follow alongside the river.

An old anchor found during the excavation of St Hildas Wharf in the 1980s.

The path takes us away from the river and we come out by Garnet Street. Writer Johnny Speight used this name for his Wapping based character "Alf Garnet" star of the sitcom "Till Death us do part" and  "In sickness and in health".

We come now to The Prospect of Whitby PH, It lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520. It was formerly known as the Devil’s Tavern, on account of its dubious reputation. Before that it was officially called The Pelican. In 1777 The pub changed to The Prospect of Whitby to refer to a collier ship called The Prospect from Whitby moored nearby for many years.

 In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of "Hanging" Judge Jeffreys, scourge of the Monmouth Rebellion. He lived nearby and a noose hangs by a window, commemorating his custom. Samuel Pepys,Charles Dickens and J.M.W Turner are said to have drunk here.
Opposite The pub is a brick building formerly owned by The London Hydraulic Power Company dating from 1890. This was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1883 to install a hydraulic power network of high-pressure cast iron water mains under London. It was the successor to the Steam Wharf and Warehouse Company, founded in 1871 by Edward B Ellington. The network covered an area mostly north of the Thames from Hyde Park  in the west to Docklands in the east.

Just after The Prospect we take a right and head along the Thames path again. This leads past the fromer entrance to Shadwell Basin, the last of 3 basins on this walk.

We walk towards the red swing bridge once powered by The London Hydraulic Power Company and cross over Shadwell Basin. He we should have walked up the road but instead we make a mistake and head back for the Thames.

Air Shaft for The Rotherhithe Tunnel running directly below.

Tile of the rear of the shaft

We double back through the park to St Pauls Church. Shadwell was famous for a number of master mariners that lived here.St Pauls became known as Church fo The Sea Captains, 75 are buried in their vaults. Captain James Cook and his son were baptised here.

We walk back through the park and back onto The Thames Path and then onto Narrow Street.

Gordon Ramsay's Gastro restaurant The Narrow occupies the old  dock masters house.

We now come up to Limehouse Basin (Regents Canal Dock) ,we cross the bridge and follow the basin.
Opened in 1820 The basin covered 10 acres and was used by sea faring vessels offloading goods to be transported via the canal system. This was eventually successful transporting coal to the power stations.

We walked under two bridges and entered a park,here we went the wrong way through the park and we ended back out on Narrow Street.

We made our way to St Annes Limehouse. St Anne's Limehouse is a Hawksmoor Anglican Church in Limehouse, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It was consecrated in 1730, one of the twelve churches built through the 1711 Act of Parliament.

The churchyard contains a pyramid thought to have been designed by Hawksmoor for the church tower. It stands about 3 metres and has "The Wisdom of Solomon" Inscribed on it in English and Hebrew".

We make our way back to Narrow Street and to The Grapes PH. The Grapes is one of the oldest pubs in London. Charles Dickens was a patron, and even made reference to the pub in his novel 'Our Mutual Friend'.
The Grapes – originally The Bunch of Grapes – has stood on the pebbled Limehouse Reach, for nearly 500 years. Its official address in 76, Narrow Street, London E14 8BP.
 In 1661, Samuel Pepys’ diary records his trip to lime kilns at the jetty just along from The Grapes.
In the back parlour is a complete set of Dickens for further reading.
Other popular writers have been fascinated by Limehouse: Oscar Wilde in “Dorian Gray”; Arthur Conan Doyle, who sent Sherlock Holmes in search of opium provided by the local Chinese immigrants; more recently Peter Ackroyd in “Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem”.
We leave The Grapes and head off and are soon back on The Thames Path heading for The Isle Of Dogs.

We reach West India Docks. Its owners were merchants with commercial interests in the West Indies.
In 1802 the import dock was completed and the export dock finished 3years later.To the south of the dock ran the city canal that allowed ships to avoid the long journey around the peninsula,however this was never successful and was taken over by the West India Dock Company.
The West India Dock Company dealt with goods from the West Indies such as Run, Molasses and sugar.

We follow the Westferry road down to Hartsmere Road and up to The Museum in Docklands.

The museum is free, we had a quick whistle stop tour but this deserves coming back for a full visit.

We leave the museum and head out over the bridge over the North quay of the Export Dock into the heart of the modern Canary Wharf development.
Canary Wharf contains around 14,000,000 square feet (1,300,000 m2) of office and retail space, of which around 7,900,000 square feet (730,000 m2) is owned by Canary Wharf Group. Around 105,000 people work in Canary Wharf and it is home to the world or European headquarters of numerous major banks, professional services firms and media organisations including Barclays, Citigroup, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, Infosys, Fitch Ratings, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, KPMG, MetLife, Moody's, Morgan Stanley, RBC, Skadden, State Street and Thomson Reuters.


Millwall Dock
We continue onto Millwall Dock and then onto Marsh Wall Road. Millwall dock opened in 1868 and covered 200 acres ans was eventually connected to The West India Dock in 1927 before being closed in 1980.

                       We cross a bridge over the docks and turn right to head down to The Gun PH.

The Gun PH with its origins in the early 18th century. Its named after the cannon fired to celebrate the opening of The West India Docks. Legend has it that Lord Nelson used to come here for secret meetings with his mistress Lady Hamilton in an upstairs room. The Gun was also a haunt for smugglers and still has a spyhole to, look out for the revenue men.

Georgian houses on Coldharbour

We reach Billingsgate Fish Market. Billingsgate Fish Market, in east London, is the United Kingdom's largest inland fish market. It takes its name from Billingsgate, a ward in the south-east corner of the City of London, where the riverside market was originally established. In its original location in the 19th century, Billingsgate was the largest fish market in the world.

Traditionally, the only people allowed to move fish around the market were licensed fish porters. The role dates back at least to Henry VIII, and was officially recognised by the Corporation of London in 1632. In 2012, a bitter battle was fought between modernisers, citing facts such as porters getting £700 for a 17 hour week, and traditionalists. The modernists won and the role of the porters ended.

Here we finish our walk of about 8 miles, the book suggests we walk on to Canary Wharf station ,but Blackwall station is closer so we head there.

Book link Here

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic write up,one of the best blogs i've read.Photo's are superb,the information was great and the walk looks fantastic,the poppies looked lovely in the sunshine and that traffic light sculpture looks cool.