We continued our walk from yesterday down Wapping High Street and more of the Capital's docks.
Wapping Hight Street was created in the 16th nCentury as a route to bring goods landed at the wharves in the City of London to the warehouses furtherout of town. Both side of the street are lined with old and new warehouses, must converted to apartments now. Here a company clearly owned the buildings on opposite sides of the street and built the bridges for ease of ttransporting goods between the two.
It is a lovely quiet part of the city and with these very expensive apartments mixing with some council and housing association homes it has a nice feel to the place. We had some nice chats with the locals who obviously had never moved from from where they had been born and loved the area. I like the fact that the warehousing had to follow the curve of the street.
I liked these old brick carvings on the side of an old pub. Truman's brewery was obviously Truman Hanbury and Buxton at one time. This pub was called the 'Three Suns' and was built in 1880 and was closed in 1986 but survives as a wine bar type place today.
Hidden behind a wooden fence and hedges in the old London Hydraulic Power company building. As the name suggests this building from 1890 was on a large circuit of hydraulic power pipelines that tranmitted the water around the dock system to power the lock gates, cranes and warehouse machinery right up until 1977. The Wapping Project Gallery was here at one time after the close of the hydraulic Co. but the place seems to be boarded up. A similar system in Hull worked the docks and locks too.
Further on from the Three Suns and Hydraulic Co is you come to the Shadwell Basin, the last of the basins that connetced the London Docks to the River Thames. It is a glorious spot now that now, in the summer holiday hgas plenty of school kids taking part in water sports. These areas of water certainly bring something to the area and provide good distant views of the City
Just by the Basin is St Paul's Church. Shadwell was famous in the 1700's for the number of sea captain's that lived, and died here. &5 were buried in it's vaults and there are several on the list of benefactors boards dipslyed in the church. So much so that it is known as the Church of the sea Captains. James Cook lived here and his son was baptised at the church in 1763. It is one of the 600 churches known as Waterloo Churches as it was was rebuilt after having fallen in to disrepair in 1820's following the Church Building Act of 1818.
Down by the Thames we came to the air shaft for the Rotherhithe Tunnel. It was opened in 1908 by George, Prince of Wales, who became George V. A local chap told us he used to carry his bike up and down the stairs inside to use the tunnel. There is now a big fan inside for ventilating the tunnel of exhaust fumes and no access is allowed.
The detail on the grills reveals LCC for the London County Council. This was set up in 1889 and was in existence until 1965. It covered much of what is called Inner London to day and was replaced by the Greater London Council.
They are digging up King Edward Memorial park and have started to place a cofferdam out into the river as they install the super sewer system here. There will be a shaft down to the sewer with pumps and other systems to make it all. The view back to Canary Wharf is quite stunning on a lovely day. The park will be restored, bigger and better when the whole system is completed.
At this point we decided to return to the Wapping over ground and have a walk on the other side of the river.
We got off at Canad Water, no not the name of a mixer drink, but the stop closest to Canada Dock that opened in 1876 and was one of ten on the south side of the Thames that were owned by the Surrey Commercial Dock Co. Canada Dock specialised in grain and timber that was imported from North America. There is no muck left of it now as a retail park has been built on it. A little walk past the shops brings you to Brunswick Quay and this great view of the extensive Greenland Dock. This was once the largest enclosed dock in the world and was originally called Howland Great Wet Dock when it opened in 1696. The ten dock covered an area of 150 acres and most got filled in as they became uncompetitive. Greenland Dock was first used to fit out East India Company vessels then in the 1720 was used by whaling ships and the smell must have been pretty bad as they rendered down the the blubber brought back to London. Later still it dealt mainly with grain and timber. The Surrey Commercial Dock Co. closed in 1970.
The bust of James Walker is found half way down the north quay. He was the chief engineer that was in charge of building many of the docks of London, including this one in the 19th Century. He was also responsible for several bridges and lighthouses around the country. He seems to have a bit of a 'Mona Lisa' smile about him and then I realised that most sculpture subjects have a very set face with no hint of a grin. You would think they would be smiling as they have made it well enough to be cast in stone or bronze.
Walking round the dock you pass over several footbridges like this original one where it takes you to the Thames and a closed off lock. The system is accessed by the vessels that are in the north end of the dock via a still working lock at the neighbouring South Dock via the Greenland Cut. South Dock is now London's largest marina. In WWII they built some of the units that went to make the Mulberry Harbour off the D Day beaches.
From the riverside we could look west and see the Cutty Sark at Greenwich. It is well worth a look around the south dock area as it is even quieter than Wapping and Shadwell and far enough from Greenwich to be clear of the many people there. We had decided enough was enough as we had to catch the train home. We caught a bus to London bridge and the tube back to the hotel to pick up the bag and head to Kings Cross and The Hull Trains train back to the City of Culture.