Riverside north bank east of the Tower.
Shadwell and Ratcliffe
Riverside area with wharves and industries active from at least the 16th century. There are also areas of housing, religious and charitable buildings dating from a similar period. All of these areas are now covered in 20th 'exclusive' housing, some of it in converted industrial buildings. This area included some early glassworks - persisting into the 21st century - and other major industries included sugar, sweet and jam making, rope, and soaps as well, of course, as shipbuilding. The area includes the Shadwell Basin - used for sports it is the last remnant of the London Dock. The Rotherhithe road tunnel crosses the river here but, more importantly, it is the northern end of Brunel's Thames Tunnel, the world's first underwater tunnel, now used for the London Overground to Wapping Station.
This post contains only those sites north of the river. Sites south of the river are in Rotherhithe, Surrey Canal Entrance
Mr. Bere had an orchard here in the 18th
This street seems to have been called Cranford Cottages until at least the 1960s.
Cranford Cottages still stand on the south side of the street, although the northern terrace has gone. The cottages were built in the early 1890s via the Limehouse District Board with the special permission of the Secretary of State. They were designed by the London County Council Architects Dpartment. The area had previously been called Harris Court.
On the site of Angel Court.
This was once Love Lane which ran along the eastern edge of Sun Tavern Fields. In the 17th it was Cut Throat Lane. Roman remains, including coffins were found at the junction with Cable Street.
Glasshouses. There were said to be several glassworks in Cut Throat Lane in the 17th, one was Nelson & Co.
Peabody Brodlove Lane – this was the second Peabody estate, four barrack blocks around an asphalt court, built in 1867 to the designs of Henry Darbishire.
The road follows the line of a water course to the river
Cemex. Concrete batching plant
St James. This was the parish church of Ratcliffe and the first church built in Stepney by the Bishop Blomfield Metropolitan Churches Fund. It was designed by Edward Lapidge in the early 1830s.. It was burnt out in 1940 by incendiary bombs and closed when the parish was merged with St. Paul, Shadwell and the ruins taken down. In 1948 the site became home of the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine and a public garden.
St James’s Gardens. an area of public open space surrounded by homes and major roads laid out in t in the old graveyard of St. James 1913 together with residual land from the 1908 Rotherhithe Tunnel cutting, to form a long strip of public gardens. A line of plane trees follows the retaining wall of the north side of the tunnel to Branch Road. It was landscaping when the Limehouse Link was built in the 1980s and a bridge was added which crossed the new road into the tunnel. The park is grassed with mature trees, with a children’s play area and local pedestrian and cycle route connections. The gardens include the site of the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, who were incorporated in 1612 and built their Hall on part of the land vested in the Corporation of London by John Philpot.
War Memorial. This is the Ratcliffe Memorial Cross to the Great War. It is a stone Latin cross with carvings. It on a square plinth with dedication and names are incised into the sides although these have been painted.
Cyder Wines. Owned by John Symonds. This establishment was present from the 1880s to at least the 1950s. It was the London office, and probable bottling establishment, of Symonds Plough Cider & Perry Mills near Hereford, and Apple Mills, Totnes – suitable for temperance establishment, with many medical references and also suitable for hot climates! SYMONS' "MEDIUM" or "DRY," Gold Medal CYDER In Casks and Bottles of various sizes”
2 Royal Foundation of St Katharine. This is now home to the Community of the Resurrection. The Foundation was established by Queen Matilda in 1147 and refounded by Queen Eleanor in the 13th; it survived the Reformation as a Royal Peculiar. It’s buildings were demolished in 1825 for St Katharine Docks. The Foundation's moved to Regent's Park and then at Bromley Hall, Poplar. After the Second World War it moved the site here of the bombed St James Ratcliffe. Relics from the original buildings were transferred to a new chapel by R.E. Enthoven, built in 1950. In 2003-4 the chapel was refurbished, with accommodation and conference facilities by PRP Architects.
Master's House. This was, built in 1795-6 for Matthew Whiting, sugar refiner and director of the Phoenix Assurance Company. In the 19th it had been the Vicarage for St James Ratcliffe. It is possibly designed by Thomas Levenon, after the Ratcliffe fire of 1794; there are 18th murals in the ground-floor rooms facing the garden. There is a post-war residential wing and 21st extensions with a new entrance and a conference room facing the garden.
Cloister. This dates from 1951 as a route from the house to the chapel and some of the monuments from Regents Park are displayed here.
The Chapel. This dates from 1951 designed by R. E. Enthoven, altered in 2003-4. There is a relief of St Katharine. There are fittings preserved from the medieval site and radical furnishings of 1954, designed by Keith Murray.
Cable Street. In the 18th this was an area of rope manufacture. There were a number of rope walks in the area, some of which are identified below but most not. It runs parallel to the Blackwall railway which opened in 1840. The current street is made up of roads which have had a number of past names. In the mid 18th the area which first appears in this square from the west was Bluegate Field, followed by a short stretch of Princes Street and then, from King David’s Lane it was Back Lane as far as Cut Throat Lane (now Brodlove Lane) and then Brook Street to Butchers’s Row. Brook Street is so named as it led to the watercourse at Butcher Row. By the late 18th Bluegate Field and Princes Street were part of Back Lane. A hundred years later Back Lane was Cable Street.
290 Shadwell Fire Station. This opened in 1910 and is the oldest fire station in the east end still in use. It still has the old ‘London County Council’ emblem above the front doors. it is however an innovative fire station, the first to run the ‘Life’ programme involving youngsters in the East End to learn about fire-fighting
Frost's ropeworks. This was the largest in Britain. It appears to be the large ropeworks running north from Cable Street on a site north of King David Lane and parallel with Sutton Street and eventually reaching Commercial Road, to the north of this square.
Shadwell Gardens Estate. Built by the London County Council 1939-1948. It has a formal layout with dignified blocks in pre-war style. The estate is split into distinct areas east and west of the main entrance off Cable Street
Blue Plaque to “Sir William Henry Perkin, F.R.S. discovered the first aniline dyestuff, March 1856, while working in his home laboratory on this site and went on to found science-based industry. 1838-1907”
Sun Tavern Fields gas works. This lay between Hardinge Street & Johnston Street in 1817 when it was owed by the Ratcliffe Gas Light and Coke Company. It was taken over by the Commercial Gas Company in 1875.
St Mary’s Church. The parish was originally part of Christ Church, Watney Street. The vicar of Christ Church had schools opened in 1849 and the foundation stone of a new church was laid by Lord Hadda – who asked for a dedication to Saint Mary. It was designed by Frederick and Horace Francis
387 The Ship. In 1861 this is The Ship, Sun Tavern Fields. This pub closed in 2003 and now lies
Cable Street garden. Corner of Hardinge Street. Established in the 1970s with locals keen to have access to the 50-plus plots, where vegetables, fruit, flowers, meadow flowers and oriental salad greens are grown according to strict organic methods.
Stein, Smith and Ditchley. This firm of ropemakers were in Sun Tavern Fields in the early 19th. They commissioned one of the earliest gas making plants in London from Birmingham based, Boulton and Watt
414 Glamis Hall – community meeting hall.
432-46 a humble terrace of early 19th houses which has been was allowed to remain
513 King’s Arms. Built in 1931 and designed by William Stewart
Ratcliffe Meeting House for the Society of Friends. This lay between glasshouse fields and School house lane. The Friends bought this site in 1666 and it included a burial ground. This was rebuilt after the Ratcliffe fire of 1794 and was still extant in 1919. The Meeting declined in the nineteenth century, and the Wheeler Street based Bedford Institute took it over. In 1935 the building was declared a dangerous structure and had to be demolished. It is now the site of a ballcourt
571 Motor Cycle etc. Business. This building was Ratcliffe Baths, built 1900. This included a ‘mechanic laundry’ added in 1928.
Cable Street Studios. This was Thames House built 1919-22 by E.J. Gosling for Batger & Co., Confectioners and cracker manufacturers. Converted to galleries and studios after 1998.
Batgers. The firm was in Stepney from 1748. Batgers appear to have been a family of German sugar bakers who came to London, as many others did, in the 18th. Their factories had their own wharfs and shipped their raw materials along the Thames. At Thames House they manufactured jams, bakery sundries and confectionary; best known products being 'Chinese Figs', 'Silmos Lollies', 'Jersey Caramels', and 'John Peel marmalade'. The employees at the other factory manufactured 'Harlequin Christmas Crackers', and all forms of cake decorations for the bakery industry. At the height of the fruit season they would employ 700 people
Cranford Cottages. These were part of a modest slum clearance scheme by the Housing Branch of the London County Council Architects in 1898. .
Part of the Peabody Estate, this was once Elm Row.
This was previously called New Gravel Lane
Scherzer rolling Bascule Bridge built in the 1930s by the Port of London Authority. This is an electric bridge that is no longer in use and was built to cross the cut that led from Shadwell Basin to the Eastern Basin of London Dock which now filled in. It was restored by the LDDC as a fixed bridge pre-1987. There is a cascade of ponds beneath
Dock wall – this is the wall of the Eastern Basin of the London Dock.
7 Barley Mow Pub. This is long gone, but was still extant in 1944
61 Three Sons Pub. This pub dated from before 1856 but the current building is 1880 and the pub closed in 1986. It was later an off-licence and a wine bar
St Peter, London Docks, School. The school was originally set up by Charles Lowder in the 19th as part of outreach work from the church which opened in the 1860. It is on the site of Wapping Gas Works.
Wapping Gas Works. The works was started in 1829 by a Hercules Poynter apparently at the request of local residents. Like many other local gas works it was built and operated on commission by members of the Barlow family. It was taken over in 1831 by the non-statutory East London Gas Light Co. which had been set up by Poynter. In 1835 it was purchased by the Ratcliffe Gas Light and Coke Company because they expected to have to leave their existing works in Sun Tavern Fields Works. The Ratcliffe Company was finally bought out by the Commercial Company in 1875. The site was only 2 acres but had a high output for its size. In 1935, following upon the collapse of a tower scrubber, a major fire resulted, and it was decided to close the works. It is now the site of the school.
Angel Court. This is said to be the site of a hostel owned by the East India Company for Chinese seamen and set up around 1800 by a Chinese contractor called Anthony.
The northern end of the road was once called Foxes Lane.
Shadwell Sure Start Centre
Shadwell Fire station. The fire station moved here from The Highway before 1914 but was destroyed in Second World War bombing although a small part of the basement wall can still be seen. A new building opened in 1940 in Cable Street
Glamis Adventure Playground. the Children’s Hospital was demolished in 1963 and a covenant stated that the site should be used for amenities for children. However it was being used as a lorry park but in 1969 it became one of the first adventure playgrounds in London.– By 1974 the site was supported by the Greater London Council. But in the 1990′s with the abolition of the Greater London Council, funding was withdrawn. The site was closed and the building demolished. Eventually Play Association Tower Hamlets helped to get it reopened and a number of parents came forward to form a Management Committee. In 2003 a portacabin and a toilet block were installed. They won the London Adventure Playground of the Year Award and started work on a major building project. But from 2011 funding issues have forced a reduction in opening days
Dock Wall – the wall was for Shadwell Basin.
Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre. They have rescue craft, sailing dinghies, kayaks and canoes as well as wet suits and buoyancy aids. A community sailing centre by Bowerbank Brett & Lacy built in the 1980s for the London Docklands Development Corporation.
Gordon House. This is a twenty-two-storey tower block built in 1963-5.
Scherzer rolling Bascule Bridge. Built in the 1930s over the the outer entrance lock entrance to Shadwell Basin. It has a water tank counterbalance and enough clearance for a double decker bus. Built by the Port of London Authority and restored by the London Docklands as a fixed bridge pre-1987.
Eva Armsby Family Centre. Built on the part of the site of the East London Children’s Hospital by Robson Kelly Architects for Tower Hamlets and the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1994.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children. This was originally The East London Hospital for Children and Dispensary for Women founded in 1868 by Dr. Nathaniel Heckford and his wife following their experiences in the 1866 cholera epidemic. It was the first hospital in London to admit children under two years and was originally based in a sail maker's loft in Ratcliff Highway with ten beds. Dr. Beckford died of tuberculosis three years later at the age of 29. The Hospital relied on private donations, but Charles Dickens visited and helped with articles in 1869. In 1877 they moved to a purpose-built building in Glamis Road and there were additions in 1881 and 1887. In 1932 it was renamed the Princess Elizabeth of York Hospital for Children. It was intended to rebuild the Hospital at Banstead, but this was prevented by the Second World War. The Banstead Wood Country Hospital opened in 1946 as a branch of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children. In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS and the Glamis Road building had closed in 1963.
Glassmaking in this area probably dates from 1540 when French Godfray Delahay and Venetian Orlandini had been making glass at Rye and the works was moved here by a john Smith. the site was bought by Sir Roger Mansell in 1616 who made drinking glasses here
Bowles's Manufactory and Glass Houses. This was once the leading house in the glass industry in London, which produced Ratcliff Crown glass from 1677 in Bankside. In 1680 land was leased between Cut Throat Lane and Schoolhouse Lane, and brick buildings for glass houses and workshops were built plus a house as a family home. The manufacture of Crown glass was transferred there
Ide & Co. In 1860 the Commercial Gas Company sold half of the old British Gas site to Thomas Ide and he built a factory to make curved glass sheet. In due course the works was taken over by his sons. The works included an Arts and Design Department to work on decorative glass. In the Second World War the works suffered from bombing but they produced specialist items for the military and research arms of the government. The Glasshouse was rebuilt in the early 1950s and in the late 1960s began to make bullet proof glass. In 1991 they were taken over by decorative glass makers James Hetley Ltd. The site is now flats but had a frontage on both Schoolhouse Lane and Cable Street. One block is called Ide House.
Miller and Ravenhill. In 1835 Joseph Miller bought premises in Glasshouse Fields and was joined by Richard Ravenhill. They worked on engines for Royal Navy Ships installing an engine on HMS Blazer, the first such to be done. They also repaired boilers but moved to a premises at Blackwall where they built steam ships as well as engines
British Gas Company gas works. The British Gas Light Company - which closely mirrors the international Imperial Continental Gas Association - was set up by a group of rich industrialists among whom banker members of the Attwood family were prominent. William Congreve was also involved. This, their London site, was on the west side of the Lane having been leased from the Bowles family of glass makers in 1824. The British Company decided to pull out of London in 1855 and the works was sold to the Commercial Company who immediately closed it. The site eventually passed to the London School Board whose school fronts onto the Highway. The British Company continued to own and manage gas works elsewhere in the English provinces until nationalisation in 1947.
The name of the street and the trading estate are in memory of Dr Heckford who began the East London Children’s Hospital. It was formerly Collingwood Street.
Atlantic Wharf flats. Built by Regalian in 1996 after a long gap caused by recession. blocks are: Scotia Building, Campania Building, Unicorn Building, Mauretania Building, and Sirius Building.
Clergy House for St. Mary’s Church. In the late 1980s this was demolished and rebuilt as part of All Saints Court.
St. Mary’s Church hall. This opened in 1991 and houses the Tower Hamlets Community Drugs Team. A building to the rear works on drugs counselling services."
King David’s Fort
This road ran north from Cable Street opposite King David Lane. It is thought that it was in a house here that William Perkin actually undertook his initial experiments and manufacture of aniline mauve.
Rope Walks here belonged to E.Gale in 1806 and also to William Cornwell. Another, in the 1780s, belonged to Joseph Reed, who was also a poet.
Hope Pole pub.
King David Lane
10 Quantum Court. Student accommodation. This was previously the site of John Bell House which had previously been a police station also used as student accommodation since 1993.
3 William Perkin, who discovered aniline dyes, was born here. The house was demolished in 1937 but had a plaque on it about Perkin.
43 Crooked Billet Pub. Now demolished but dated from before 1817, rebuilt around 1852 and survived the Second World War.
This was near King David’s Fort, which was some sort of civil war emplacement, around a rope manufactory.
Bluegate Fields Infant School
Bluegate Fields Junior School. Built in 1993 by GHM Rock Townsend as a London Docklands Development Corporation project.
King Edward Memorial Park
Shadwell Water Works – the park was built on the sire of Thomas Neale’s waterworks. Neale had leased land in Shadwell for development and established a water-works in 1669 with one four-horse engine and using some large ponds. . The works were rebuilt in 1679, when two horse engines were erected. Neale raised a considerable sum of money through selling 36 shares. The works was incorporated in 1691. In 1750 a steam-engine was then installed but this was a failure. In 1774 it was replaced by a Boulton and Watt engine. The sitee was bought by the London Dock Company in 1807 and in 1808 absorbed by the East London Water Company who subsequently closed it when their Old Ford Works opened.
Shadwell Market. This lay to the east of the church and slightly south of the Highway and was present from the 17th following the charter granted to Neale to the 19th.
Shadwell Fish Market. Built by the London Riverside Fish Company in 1885. It was unsuccessful and became derelict.
King Edward VII Memorial Park. Built in 1922 when a Memorial Committee was set up by the Lord Mayor of London to buy the area of the old fish market and turn it into a park. the City Corporation owned a significant portion of the land on which the park was built. The Great War delayed the work and the London County Council completed after the war. It was opened by George V in 1922. It has a terrace running parallel to the river which is now part of the Thames Path. Ownership of the park transferred to the London borough of Tower Hamlets in 1971. The landscape was restored and improved by Cooper Partnership for the London Docklands Development Corporation. The park has a bandstand, waterfront benches, children's play area, bowling green, all weather football pitch and tennis courts. However Thames Water proposed to use for of the park for construction of the Thanes Tideway tunnel. There was a petition against this and many protests and the plan has now been modified.
Memorial to the opening. This was a bronze medallion and a memorial pillar by Edgar Bertram Mackennal. A drinking fountain carried the medallion with a likeness of the King and an inscription ‘IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF KING EDWARD THE SEVENTH THIS PARK IS DEDICATED TO THE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE OF EAST LONDON FOR EVER - OPENED BY KING GEORGE THE FIFTH 1922’; the medallion was stolen in 2007
Memorial to Newfoundland Passage seekers who sailed from the Thames here to find a northeast passage round Russia to China. The expedition went in 1563 but the ships were separated and Sir Hugh Willoughby and his crew froze to death. The others returned one of them via the court of Ivan the Terrible in Russia. Erected by the London County Council in 1922. Porcelain plaque painted with galleons.
Rotunda over the vent and shaft for the Rotherhithe tunnel. The tunnel was opened in 1908 so this vent was present before the park was built, and it once dominated the site but it is now masked by trees. The tunnel was refurbished in 2007 and a roof was installed on the rotunda. It is a circular red brick single storey 'drum' with Portland stone dressings and within the vents is decorative ironwork incorporating the letters ‘LCC’. It contains a staircase down to the tunnel itself and a pedestrian footpath – this however has been closed for many years.
2 Broad Street and Ravensdale Club. This boxing club is also The Highway Club. The building appears to be with Lowood Street School or something in a very similar style.
Lowood Street School. London County Council School for special needs children. The school was bombed in the Second World War. Children had been evacuated and when they returned they went to other schools.
This service road runs along the southern edge of Shadwell Basin, but pre-dates being shown on maps in the 18th.
Sugar House – this was sited here and owned by Theodore Wackerbarth in the 1750s
Riverside Mansions. These flats were built in 1928 by Metropolitan Borough of Stepney. They were the first flats for working people in the East End to have a bath and running hot water in each flat, with communal laundry rooms, a purpose-built doctor’s surgery and lifts. They were used to re-house people from slum clearance schemes
Peabody Estate of 1866, designed by H.A. Darbishire, This was the third estate built by the Trust and had four storey blocks grouped around a courtyard – a design which Darbyshire had pioneered at Islington
Housing built under the London Docklands Development Corporation which lies beneath the wall of Shadwell Basin. The estate is on the site of warehousing on the eastern quay.
Much of the area covered by this square was known as Ratcliff. The name is seen to be a description of the Thames side area - the red cliff. There is a record of the King's ships lying at Le Redeclyve in 1370. Ratcliff became the entrance to the port of London and Merchandise was unloaded here and explorers left from here.
Wapping Dock Stairs. poor condition, bottom wooden flight broken, fenced off at top. Accessed from Wapping High Street
Lower Gun Wharf. This owned by the Co-operative Wholesale Society in the 20th. It was known as Wheatsheaf Wharf, with a warehouse building on it dating from before the 1870s. The current building dates from the 1920s following redevelopment by wharfingers, Litchfield and Soundy. This fronts on to Wapping High Street
Wapping Station. Wapping Station is the northern end of the Thames Tunnel and the site here is where Brunel, much delayed, tunnel neared here from Rotherhithe in 1839. Soon after, when a spring was breached, there was a hole here in the foreshore 13 feet deep and 30 feet across. However within a few months iron curbs with which to sink the Wapping Shaft had been delivered by Rennie’s firm. As the shaft was sunk subsidence appeared in surrounding buildings. The tunnel and the shaft finally met in 1841. In 1843 Victoria came in the Royal barge to view the works.
Frying Pan Stairs. In the 17th these were at the end of Cinnamon Street
Middleton and St Bride Wharves. This wharf fronted on to Wapping High Street but was demolished and is now the site of Towerside development. This was designed by PRP in 1983. The original developer was Hammersons who sold to Wates Built Homes. It was for a river front development to integrate with the existing warehouses. Parking for the site was to be within the block and a riverside walkway provided. A craggy indented form was chosen to give oblique views of the river and integrate balconies with the main structure
Foundry Wharf. The parish of Wapping Stepney owned a frontage to the Thames o the site of what was later Foundry Wharf. On the site was, or is, the outflow of an old watercourse which was the responsibility of two neighbouring parishes. It was built in 1886 for Innes Bros. They were sugar importers with a warehouse in Clegg Street. The wharf was once part of the Commercial Gas Co. site
Commercial Gas Co. This was the wharf used for coal import to the Wapping Gas Works in Garnet Street to the North.
New Crane Stairs. Good condition and access
New Crane Wharves. Warehouse built around 1900. This is now converted to flats designed by Freehaus. The wharf was used by coal merchants, including Cory Associated Wharves and had been built by Thomas Cubitt in the 19th, alongside the Thames Tunnel.
New Crane Dock. In 1839 this was in possession of Messrs. Tebbut, Stoneman and Spence shipbuilders. The dock was used for fitting masts, rigging and copper bottoming. The firm also seem to have been involved in convict transport and had strong links with north east ports.
In 1843 it was used by Thomas Scanes, shipwright.
Ayles Luke and Weston. This firm were early 19th shipbuilders at New Crane Dock
Pett – Shipbuilding. The Pett family, famous for their work in the Royal Dockyards had a private shipyard at Wapping. In 1597 Joseph Pett repaired 'a great Flemish carrack' here and later they built the Mercury and the Spy for the Algiers expedition of 1620..
Lime wharf. This was present in 17th
Bludworths Dock. This was a centre for shipwrights by at least 1731. It was operated by the Shadwell based Bludworth family, and then by the Menetone family. It included a sail loft, a tree nail house, a wedge house, offices and a crane. They have said to have built East Indiamen there.
Mast Yard. This was owned by the Quaker Sheppard family of timber merchants and mast builders.
Buchanan Wharf. P R Buchanan were public wharfingers who specialised in the handling of tea
Jubilee wharf. This wharf fronts onto Wapping Wall and is now converted to flats. It was built in the mid-19th,
Lusk's Wharf. This wharf was built in 1890. It fronts onto Wapping Wall and is now converted to flats. This was Andrew Lusk & Co. – he was Lord Mayor of London
Lower Oliver's Wharf. Built in 1890 this wharf fronts onto Wapping Wall and is now converted to flats
Metropolitan Wharf. This site fronts onto Wapping Wall and is now converted to flats. It was a pepper and tea warehouse built in 1864. Ships up to 1,500 tons could be berthed here and a vast array of goods were handled - coffee, cocoa, tea, rubber, gums, spices, metals, wines and spirits, tallow, fruit juices and canned goods. There were tanks for the storage of vegetable oils. It was the first building to be listed by the London Docklands Development Corporation.
King James Stairs. This was the site of the Coal Whippers Office, set up in 1844,
Tinder Box Alley. stairs - good condition and access
Thorpe Wharf. In the 1930s this was Cole and Carey who handled dried fruit.
Pelican Wharf. Fronts onto Wapping Wall. In the 19th this had been a barge builder and a marble wharf. It later became a barge yard for storage of sand. In the 1930s Nash and Miller operated it for ballast and aggregate
Pelican Stairs. good condition and access by Wooden stairs to River Thames
Prospect of Whitby. Riverside pub which claims to have been here since 1520 and to have been called ‘The Devil’s Tavern’. It is said to be named after a Tyne collier that used to berth here in the 18th – one of its other names has been the Pelican, another The Ship. It has the narrow width of the 16th riverfront plots and an old stone flagged floor but has a 19th facade although it is informal and rambling at the back. There is some 18th panelling
Dock Masters Residence and Office. Built in 1831 for the dock master of the London Dock Company. It is now gone.
Port of London Authority River Quay. This was built by William Arrol Co in 1921 as part of the works to Shadwell Entrance. It was on the site of the old Shadwell Dock Entrance. There are now flats on the site
Shadwell Old Entrance. The basin was opened in 1832 and named Shadwell Entrance. But by the 1850s, the London Dock Company had recognised that it was too small and it was replaced. It was dammed in 1922.
Trafalgar Court. These flats are on the site of the old Shadwell Dock Entrance and date from 1991. The freehold is owned by the Residents' Association. An anchor in the gardens came from a scrap yard in Portsmouth.
Shadwell Dock. This dock was on site before the building of the London Docks and Shadwell Basin. In 1713 it was in possession of the Foster family of shipbuilders.
Shadwell Entrance. This is the entrance to the New Basin built in 1858 as a replacement for the old one. It is still extant.
Shadwell dock stairs. These are a brick and stone ramp, present since before the 19th. There is a mural in ceramic tiles on the front of an adjacent building, showing the activities run by the Shadwell Dock project, and commemorating its opening by Prince Charles
Rotherhithe Tunnel. The Rotherhithe road tunnel passes under the foreshore here – the shaft and air vent can be seen in the decorative rotunda on the edge of the park.
The North Eastern Storm Relief sewer discharges into the river having run under the park. It has three rectangular channel supported by brick piers.
Free Trade Wharf. Free Trade refers to the 19th movement to repeal laws on some goods. The warehouses were 19th and early 20th. In the 1930s they were controlled by the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Co. (this wharf fronted on The Highway below)
East India Company Warehouses. These were built in the 1790s to the designs of Richard Jupp but were used by the Tyne Tees Stream Shipping Company in the 19th for general cargo. In the 1930s concrete floors were added
Seaborne Coal Wharf. Charrington’s Coal Wharf – some of the buildings later known as Free Trade Wharf. (This wharf fronted on The Highway below)
Bell Wharf Stairs. These were at the river end of Cock Hill
Cock Hill Wharf. This is where the Ratcliffe Fire began in 1794.
Inlet from the Thames at Bell Wharf by Cock-Hill. This may have worked the wheel of Ratcliff mill.
Bowles Wharf, this wharf was used by the 17th Bowles glass works and later passed to the British Gas Co. (this wharf fronted on The Highway below)
Great Stone Stairs
Horne dock. This was present in the 17th
Atlantic wharfs. Conversions and new build by Regalian
Hubbucks Wharf. Hubbuck were lead manufacturers. The wharf was demolished in the 1970s as part of the Free Trade Wharf development (this wharf fronted on The Highway below)
Radcliffe Cross Wharf. This old established wharf had had a variety of users. It final use was for RXW Transport Co later London Clearance and Distribution Ltd
Almshouses – What became the Ratcliffe Charity consisted of almshouses and a school built in 1531 by Nicholas Gibson, sheriff of London, on what was then Broad Street and in east side of what became Schoolhouse Lane. In 1552 his widow Avice, settled the estate on the Coopers' Company to maintain the school and almshouses. This was to support seven poor people from Stepney and seven members of the Coopers' Company or their widows in the almshouses. Other bequests followed and six more almshouses, for Coopers, were built in 1613. New almshouses were built by the company in 1694. An additional house was built in 1826. The 1694 almshouses were to the north of the older buildings, forming three sides of a narrow courtyard off the Lane. They were rebuilt in 1795 after the Ratcliffe fire. A chapel stood in the central block flanked by two-storeyed houses. The charity was combined with Prisca Coborn's school charity in 1891 and the almshouses were closed in 1894, when the whole site was cleared. The charity however is still active.
School. This free school for sixty boys was set up in 1538 by Nicholas Gibson. The school was managed by the Coopers Company who rebuilt it in 1786. They were however burnt down in the Ratcliffe fire and rebuilt with insurance money in 1796 but to the north of the original site. The Stepney & Bow Educational Foundation was formed under pressure from the Charity Commissions which merged the Coopers' Boys School at Ratcliffe with the Coborn School in Tredegar Square, Bow. The school was named the Coopers' Company's School and in 1908 the school was rebuilt in Tredegar Road – and has since moved to Upminster.
Much of the area covered in this square is now know as Shadwell. It is sometimes said that the name comes from a spring dedicated to St. Chad or Cead but this is unlikely. It was Wapping Marsh that was drained in 1587 by Cornelius Vanderdelf, and was on the eastern boundary of what was then described as the town of Ratcliff. It was not until the 18th that this drained land became known generally as Shadwell. The land now covered by King Edward VII Memorial Park, was owned by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's but by the 17th it began to increase in value. houses and streets began to appear occupied by boat-builders, sail-makers, mast-makers, riggers, biscuit-bakers, coopers, ships' chandlers, anchor-smiths, am doters. The area was then developed under Thomas Neale, who leased it from the Dean and Chapter. He was Master of the Mint from 1678 to the date of his death and in 1684 he was groom-porter to Charles II. He began to develop several areas – one was Seven Dials. Charles II granted a charter to Shadwell to hold a market and in 1669 the parish was created out of Stepney. Neale turned the hamlet of Shadwell into a town. It was eviscerated by the excavation of the docks.
Shadwell Basin is the main remnant of the London Docks still in water. It was the most easterly part of the complex and is now an area of 2.8 hectares used for sailing, canoeing and fishing and is surrounded on three sides by housing. It was built 1828–32 by J.R. Palmer as an entrance area to the Eastern Basin and was later known as Shadwell Old Basin. The two other entrances to the London Dock complex at Wapping and Shadwell were too small to take larger ships and in 1854 a new larger entrance and a new basin was built here by J.M Rendel for the company. This linked to the Western Basin Eastern Dock. Its quay walls were constructed with mass concrete piers and brick relieving vaults. In the north eastern part of the basin Swedish and French trades were catered for. However the dock became outdated and inefficient and so closed to shipping in 1969. It was purchased by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and eventually became derelict. In 1981 it was vested into the London Docklands Development Corporation ad was redeveloped in 1987. Inner Entrance Lock built in 1858.
Housing built in 1987 designed by MacCormac, Jamieson, Prichard and Wright. The buildings are of four and five storeys with façades of alternating open and enclosed arches. It was intended to echo the scale of traditional 19th dock warehouses. The original concept had to be diluted because it would have adversely affected winds onto the basin –which was intended for water-based recreational sports. This also meant that the terracing be fractured in order to let winds penetrate down onto the water
Sun Tavern Fields
The Highway was a busy thorough fare and until the 17th area was open country – thus pubs were built to cater for passing trade and livery. Ratcliff Fields were north of the road, and became known as Sun Tavern Fields. The fields extended from Blue Gate Fields as far as Cut-throat Lane, now Brodlove Lane. gravel was extracted from the fields and used as ballast in ships. ARoman coffin was found here in 1614. Several rope walks were sited on the fields – one along the southern boundary,
A mineral water spring was found here in 1745 during the sinking of a well. It was said to be impregnated with sulphur, vitriol, steel, and antimony and a cure for almost every disorder. The water was used by calico printers as a mordant.
There is thought to have been a Roman road running on the line of the Highway between the Tower and a small port at Ratcliffe. In the 17th the road was known as Ratcliffe Highway going westwards to Sun Tavern Fields, and then Upper Shadwell to Cut Throat Lane (Brodlove Lane) and then Broad Street – Broad Street also being known as Cock Hill.
302 St.Paul’s Institute
School. This was founded in 1811 for the religious and moral education of the parish and was a turning-point in educational design
St.Pauls Shadwell. The original church was demolished in 1817 . It had been Built by Neale in 1656, first as a chapel but, with the addition of a sixty foot tower it became the parish church – the a dedication relating to the ground landlords, the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's cathedral. It was called ‘the church of the sea captains ‘and Captain Cook was a worshipper here.
St. Paul’s. Built 1817-21 0- a plaque says:' J.Walters, Architect: rebuilt 1820; R. Streather, Builder'. Its steeple is a local landmark. It was converted into a community centre by the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1983 and the church was restored
St. Paul. The spring which is supposed to have been dedicated to St. Chad, supplied a well east of the church. it has been stated that it is now beneath a pillar near the south-east corner of the church within the church yard. It is said that it would, cure every disease
St Paul's Terrace. Below the retaining wall of the churchyard a row of tiny, one-bay artisan cottages of 1820. Originally they would have been accessible only via an alley from the dockside.
Churchyard. Some 75 sea captains and their wives buried in the grounds between 1725-95. In the 1840s, the London Dock Company took half of the churchyard for the construction of Shadwell New Basin. In 1858, the structural stability of the church was compromised by the excavations, requiring heavy buttressing of the retaining wall. The churchyard was improved by the Metropolitan Pubic Garden Association when it was laid out as a garden for recreation in 1886. It was landscaped in 1983 and the early 19th iron railings and lamp brackets retained. There is a doorway to Shadwell Basin.
28 (Broad Street) Free Trade Wharf. Built by the East India Company in 1793. All that remains is the gateway of 1846, rebuilt in 1934, with lions and the coat of arms of the East India Company. The Company housed saltpetre here, away from their main warehouses in Cutler Street and an explosion here caused the disastrous Ratcliffe fire of 1794. The remaining warehouses face each other across a long paved court and were built in 1795-6, probably by Richard Jupp, Company Surveyor. They were enlarged in 1801 and 1828 and have been changed since. In the 1920s they were used by the Little Western Steam Ship Co Lt, the Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Co Ltd and the Free Trade Wharf Co Ltd and on Riverside
Free Trade Wharf. Converted in 1985-7 to flats and offices by Holder Mathias Alcock. The western part is a huge ziggurat with layers of balconies facing the Thames. A 45ft Thames sailing barges used for transporting gunpowder was put on the site in an old barge dock. The ranges of original warehouses were converted into flats, shops, a wine bar, office suites and a leisure area. The Mall has a wide paved precinct which runs from the gated archway entrance through to the river walkway. There are sculptures along the river including Polly lonides' Father Thames.
55-57 Broad Street. Hubbuck's Wharf. Thomas Hubbuck & Sons were lead and zinc merchants who patented white zinc paint. Their colour works was at Ratcliff, just east of Free Trade Wharf.
2 (Broad Street) Sea-Bourne Coal Wharf – used by Charrington, Dale & Co, coal & Coke merchants and on Riverside
Bowles Wharf – and on Riverside
56 (as Broad Street) Ship Aground. Pub present in the 1920s and since demolished
350 The Listed Building. Converted by Regalian
Ratcliffe cross. At the corner of Broad Street was the Ship Tavern which was the town's meeting-place.
455 Shadwell Centre and Ideas Store. This was Broad Street School built by the London School Board in the 1880s. After the Second World War it was renamed Nicholas Gibson School after the man who had set up the 17th school in the area which later became the Coopers School.
27 Broad Street Boys Club. Set up next to the school by Frederick Mills. Mills was an associate of Canon Barnett at Toynbee Hall and was later appointed School Manager at the Board School. He bought the house next door, which had been mast makers, and set it up as a boys’ club which opened in 1886.
Air shaft for the Rotherhithe Tunnel, probably at the bottom of Heckford Street
Cock Hill. This was the easternmost section of Ratcliffe Highway.
Market cross, at the bottom of Butcher Row, still standing in 1732,
Wapping High Street
138-140 Lower Gun Wharf
157 Steam Ferry Tavern. This was also called the Bell Tavern and is now demolished
Passage to Wapping Dock Stairs, alongside the station
Wapping Station. This opened in 1869 and it lies between Rotherhithe and Shadwell on the East London Line of the London Overground. It was originally opened as ‘Wapping and Shadwell’ by the East London Railway which opened from New Cross to Wapping through Brunel's Thames Tunnel and using London Brighton and South Coast Railway trains. The line was extended to Shoreditch in 1872 with a connection to Bishopsgate Junction. In 1884 it was run by the Metropolitan & District Railway between St.Mary’s and New Cross. Above ground the station is built in pale brick of 1959-60 by the East London Railway, itself built in 1865-76 by John Hawkshaw. The line arrives having passed through first tunnel to be built under water. Access to the platforms can be by a flight of stairs built into one of the original access shafts of the Thames Tunnel. The station was remodelled between 1995 and 1998, for upgrading work. On the station platforms are Vitreous enamel panels by Nick Hardcastle showing the station and giving information about the tunnel.
The Thames Tunnel was completed in 1843 after 20 years of tunnelling. It was the first tunnel to be built underwater s through soft ground, within a few feet of the bed of the Thames. It was begun in 1825 by Marc Brunel using his patent tunneling shield. There were five major inundations but with government assistance and perseverance the tunnel was completed. Spiral ramps for access by carriages were never built and it was a foot tunnel until it was taken over by the railway.
210-222 Middleton and St Bride Wharves. This is now the site of Towerside – with detail under Riverside
This follows the line of the Sea Wall built from St Katharine's to Shadwell in 1540 after the medieval defences had been washed away by heavy tides
New Crane Place. The three converted 19th warehouses surround a cobbled courtyard with a mix of commercial and residential units fronting the River. The conversion was by Conran Roche.
5 Queens Landing Beer House. Pub which probably dated from the 16th. Now demolished
6 Old Greenland Fishery. Present by 1741, but is now demolished
15 George and Vulture. Pub now demolished
19 Ship and Whale Pub, also called Sunderland Bridge.Now demolished
22 Waterman’s Arms pub. Now demolished
30 The Three Mariners Pub. Present by 1649, but is now demolished
36 Old Dock House Pub. Present before 1851 called the Chequers and also using the name of Greenland Fishery.It is now demolished
58-60 Pelican Wharf. Riverside front noted above. Flats by Shepheard Epstein & Hunter built 1986-7 in yellow brick. The flats have their own private floating river terrace and moorings.
59 The White Horse Pub. Now demolished
59 Grey and Martin. This firm dealt in lead and related products and had a number of works and depots around London.
65-9 Warehouses 1898-1900,
70 City of Quebec Pub. Now demolished
70-74 Metropolitan Wharf. This wharf has a Riverside frontage noted above. It is now converted into offices and studios. The name originally referred only to the centre block of the range but other warehouses were added - some in 1864-5 by John Whichcord Jun. Part is perhaps the oldest warehouse along Wapping Wall, built c.1862-3 by William Cubitt & Co. with two top floors added around 1900. It was the first building to be listed by the London Docklands Development Corporation and was originally used for small businesses...
71 The Wheatsheaf. Pub now demolished
73 Ship Royal Oak Pub. Now demolished.
75 Warehouse D of 1898-9. This was built by Holland & Hannen.
76-7 this was previously Jubilee Wharf but now part of Great Jubilee wharf. It was mid-19th, ad three forged-iron wall-cranes remain.
78-80 Great Jubilee Wharf. This wharf – which also has a Riverside frontage - is a single block of flats by BUJ Architects converted in 1996-7 but in fact unifying the facades of three former warehouses. These were Wharf and Lower Oliver's Wharf, built in 1890. Original wrought-iron wall-cranes have been left on the buildings.
London Hydraulic Power Station. This is now the Wapping Project gallery. Built in 1889-93 it marks the junction with Glamis Road. Built by E.B. Ellington, engineer to the Hydraulic Engineering Company of Chester who supplied the machinery. It was originally steam powered. It is a tall, single-storey red brick building, with a rear boiler house of 1923-5 under cast-iron water tanks. The Tall accumulator tower rises above the Engineers' house adjoining. This was the last to work of the five power stations built by the London Hydraulic Power Company to provide power for cranes, lifting bridges etc. through inner London. It was closed in 1977, finally converted in 2000 by Shed 54 Limited. Inside the engines remain under a timber and-iron Polonceau-truss roof and the gutted boiler house provides an exhibition space.
Park built in the eastern end of the Eastern Basin of the London Docks. Wapping Wood. The canal from Wapping Lane ends at an informal park, planted with trees and known optimistically as Wapping Wood. Part of the former dock, left as open space in Epstein & Hunter's master plan for the area. The former quay wall has been incorporated into the lowest part of the wall of the adjacent flats.
AIM. Web site
Banbury. Shipbuilders of the Thames and Medway
Bird. Geography of the Port of London
British History. Web site
Cable Street. Wikipedia Web site
CAMRA. City and East London Beer Guide,
Clunn. The Face of London
Cox. Old East Enders
Dockland History Group. Web site
East London Record
Ellmers and Werner. London’s Lost Riverscape
Field. London Place Names,
Friends of the Earth. London Gasworks sites
Graces’s Guide. Web site
London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Web site
London Docklands guide
LondonGardensOnline. Web site
London Parks and Gardens. Web site
Long. City of London Safari
Marysgasbook. Web site
Mathieson and Laval. Brunel’s Tunnel and where it led
Nairn. Nairn’s London
Pevsner and Williamson. London Docklands
Picture the Past. Web site
PortCities. Web site
Port of London Magazine
Prospect of Whitby. Web site.
Pub History Web site.
River Thames Society. Web site
Skyscraper News. Web site.
Stewart. Gas works in the North Thames Area
Thames Basin Archaeology of Industry. Survey
Waymarking. Web site
War Memorials. On line. Web site
Watts. A History of Glassmaking in London
Much of the information on this page has been taken from work done in the 1930s and printed in the unlikely pages of Co-psrtnership Herald – the house journal of the Commercial Gas Co.