11th December 2007
Wapping and Rotherhithe are very close together in terms of raw distance. The difficulty is that there is no direct walking route over the Thames connecting the stations. There is a tunnel connecting both stations – Isambard Brunel’s Thames foot tunnel. Unfortunately it is no longer available for walking through as it is now being used by the East London underground line.
You can see the problem from the below map. You have only two options, head East, or head West. There are no crossings for miles to the East so the best option is to go West and cross at Tower Bridge.
Walking along Wapping High Street takes me past more wharfs and the London Marine Police.
After passing the London Marine Police building it is finally possible to get onto a Thames footpath and see the river.
There are some very nice (and I’m sure very expensive) new river side flats on Wapping High Street.
The next point of interest is St. Katharine Docks which is home to expensive flats, boats, a few restaurants and a one ton weight that wouldn’t look out of place in a Road Runner cartoon.
It opened in 1828 when it was used to handle cargoes such as ivory, spices, wines and perfumes. After being damaged in World War 2 the dock fell into disrepair until the regeneration of this area started in the 1970s.
Crossing the River Thames here means going over Tower Bridge – not London Bridge as some people seem to think it is called. London Bridge is the fairly nondescript bridge over to the East of this one. The passage way in the photo below used to be known as ‘Dead Man’s Hole’ as in the past it was used for retrieving bodies that had been thrown into the Thames.
On the South side of the Thames is the Shad Thames street. According to a plaque on a wall this street is the best example of how the dockland area used to look before the redevelopment took place.
In this area you can find the Design museum which is well worth a visit.
Below is St. Saviours Dock, a place where in the 18th century they used to hang pirates.
Although this areas has undergone massive redevelopment in recent years, slightly to the East of the new wharfs is an area which has plenty of derelict building just waiting to be turned into flats or offices.
Marychurch Street and Rotherhithe Street are residential areas with a picturesque church, pub and houses.
Just before we get to Rotherhithe underground station we get to the Brunel museum. This is located at the South entrance of his Thames foot tunnel (now used for the East London underground line). The engine house, used for the tunnel drainage pumps is visible above ground.
A short walk around the museum gets us to our destination, Rotherhithe underground station.