Riverside - north bank east of the Tower- Wapping London Docks
This relates only to the south west corner of the square. The south east of the square is Wapping
Riverside and dockland area under intense development pressure. Riverside wharves once trading and manufacturing areas are now entirely 20th housing, some in converted industrial buildings - apart from a small park achieved through local community pressure. The area includes the site of the London Dock, infilled and used for modern housing. Some features remain. It also includes the eastern end of the St. Katharine's Dock, now a marina surrounded by housing. Surrounding sites include that of a brewery. There are the remains of earlier settlements, including churches and social support organisations dating back to the 17th.
Post to the east Rotherhithe, Surrey canal entrance and Shadwell and Ratcliffe
Post to the south Bermondsey
Post to the west Tooley Street
This was previously Burr Street which covered what are now Burr Close and St. Anthony’s Close. The site was previously the Eastern Warehouses of St. Katharine’s Dock which had been destroyed in bombing.
Housing on it now is part of the South Quay Estate, a mid-rise development of about 300 homes was built by the Greater London Council as selective social housing, 1979 - 1981. The freehold of the estate has since been purchased by residents from London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The buildings are in brick and in a style which stands between the brutalism of the 1960s and the post 1980 post modernists.
Maudlins Green – open space as part of the South Quay Estate.
25 King George or Ship King George Pub was here from around 1814 to the Great War
This was previously Great Hermitage Street
20-40 flats by Austin-Smith Lord built in brick around a courtyard in 1988. The flats have balconies and an undulating facade,
Houses. Terraces of tiny houses, built by Tower Hamlets. There are also flats, designed with reference to the 19th warehouses.
Glass House where flint glass was being made in 1684 with a Lion and Coronet seal. A Glasshouse Yard was north of Great Hermitage Street in 1746
15 -19 Vandome, Titford & Co Ltd, scale maker. They made bankers scales and other specialist weighing equipment. They were in the street early 20th.
8-10 Improved Liquid Glues Co. They made Croid glue. The company had begun in 1911 set up by P.H. W Serie in Croydon. He made liquid ready-to-use glues. Early aviators relied on Croid glues in some of its construction and this works in Wapping was opened as they needed to expand. , in 1920 they became a subsidiary British Glues and Chemicals and left Wapping eventually moving to Newark on Trent where there new factory opened in 1949. In the 1960s they developed PVA and later the first hot melt adhesives in the UK. In 1968 they were taken over by Croda International. The Newark factory continues to operate and Croda’s headquarters are also based there.
Hovil and Turner. They had a stave yard and cooperage in the 19th
A number of streets and features in the area are named Hermitage. This includes a number of structures on the river front– noted under ‘Riverside’ below, and Hermitage Wall, above and some others like the school, and a brewery. Thus Hermitage Dock, Hermitage Entrance, Catherine Wheel, Hermitage Steam Wharf. Hermitage Community Moorings, Hermitage Wharf – these are all under ‘Riverside’ below..
A hermitage appears to have existed here in the early middle ages owned by the City of London based Abbey of St. Mary Graces . This was an extremely wealthy Cistercian Abbey relative nearby in East Smithfield. In the 1530s Hermitage was on land near Nightingale Lane (St, Thomas More Street) described as two gardens and a pond called Swan’s Nest. In the 14th the hermitage is said to have been inhabited by John Ingram, in seclusion between 1371 and 1380.
The Cressemills or Crash mills were between Nightingale Lane and Wapping Marsh by 1233 powered by a stream which ran parallel to Nightingale Lane. The mills were in various ownership and eventually went to St. Mary Graces, which kept them until the Dissolution. In 1535 they were farmed out for a rent of flour. In the 1530s the site included the Katharine Wheel, A wharf, other tenements and the Swan's Nest
Hermitage Basin. This was added to the London Dock by John Rennie in 1811-21. It was built in order to create a second entrance to the dock besides that at Wapping Pier Head. It was closed in 1909.
Reef Knot sculpture by Wendy Taylor
Hermitage entrance lock. Two sets of gate piers with the stalactite rustication that Alexander used throughout the London Dock.
Impounding station. Thus is in red brick Neo-Georgian stole built in 1913-14. It was the first of what was to be a standard PLA-type designed to maintain water levels in the dock basins. It raised the height of the water in the dock to fifteen feet two inches above O.D.
Ornamental Canal – the pedestrian route runs along the quay of what has become a narrow Canal starting at Hermitage Basin. Designed by Paddy Jackson in 1982 and excavated as a canal from the infilled dock along the edge of the dock basin
Hermitage Waterside. This development is on the North West side of Hermitage Basin. Houses by Jestico & Whiles for Barratt, with standard elevations. The quay wall by Rennie has been kept. There is however a ‘keep out. Private’ notice.
Spirit Quay. On the south quay are houses by Form Design Group built before 1987. The development of a piazza filling the old passage to the Wapping Entrance basin.
Bust - bronze Neoclassical-style of John Rennie, twice life-size, by John Ravera.
Thomas More Court. This is on the north quay by the Boyer Design Group built 1987
The street is built east-west across the area of London Docks’ Western Dock and warehouses. It appears to follow the line of the central jetty coming from the eastern quay.
Western Dock Basin. This was the oldest of the basins of the London Dock completed in 1806. Its area divides into three main housing developments - Western Basin, East Quay and South Quay. The Western Dock’s history is recalled in the names of the various parts of these developments - Trade Winds Court, Tamarind Yard, Spice Court, etc.
Quay 430. A series of short roads and closes to the north of Kennet Street Quay 430. This was built 1989-1993 and covers nearly the entire 16 acre site of the Western Dock and its surrounding warehouses. It is a large housing development with 306 flats with buildings in Tradewinds Court, Spice Court, Leeward Court, China Court, Tamarind Yard, Cape Yard and Bridgeport Place. The buildings look on to landscaped gardens within four crescent-shaped courtyards
Canal. The canal which runs to the south of developments to the south of Kennet Street is a central feature of the development. It is a surface water reservoir as well as an amenity. It was designed by Paddy Jackson Associates in 1982-5, and excavated from the infilled dock. The original quay wall, built of yellow stock brick with a limestone band, has been kept. Gabled rows of houses run down each side.
This quarter square covers the south eastern section of the Western Basin of the London Dock. The plan for the dock began in 1800 with an Act of Parliament and a 21 year monopoly for handling the import of tobacco, rice, wine and brandy. John Rennie was appointed engineer and Daniel Asher Alexander as the architect and surveyor. The foundation stone was laid by PM, Henry Addington in 1802 and the first ship entered the dock in January 1805. These docks were three times larger than St Katharine's Dock and were commercially successful and in 1864 they took over St Katharine's Dock. Apart from the two entrance basins most of the dock area have now been filled in for housing
Jetty – this ran east from the west side of the dock into the Western Basin. This had been a wooden structure but it was rebuilt by the Port of London Authority in 1914. On each side of it were transit sheds for berths dealing with coastal trade and they fed into a covered road running down the centre of the jetty.
West Quay Shed. This lay north of the central jetty, experimental shipments of wine in bulk were received here in the 1950s.
7 this warehouse7 dealt with sugar, wool and general goods
8 this warehouse dealt with sugar, wool and general goods
9 this warehouse dealt with plywood and paper.
Vaults. Under all the warehouses and some quays of the Western Dock were vaults storing wines and spirits. A forest of stone pillars supported eight feet high brick vaulting ventilated by a system of tunnels. The darkness was relieved by naked gas lights. The constant temperature of about 60°F was of great value in maturing wines and spirits. It was the largest wine storage area in Great Britain. The wine in pipes or hogsheads came from France, Spain and Italy, casks from South Africa, Australia. They were managed by Coopers who also dealt with bottling and labelling. In 1939 they were not opened to people seeking shelter from bombing.
This short connecting road is the remains of what was a very much longer road which continued north to the dock wall, adjacent to the swing bridge. It then turned eastwards and ran alongside the dock as far as the wall of the Wapping Basin. It appears once to have been called Red Maid Lane.
Cobbles on the junction with Wapping High Street
Miller’s Wharf. This was British and Foreign Wharves 'G' warehouse of 1860. They specialised in wines and spirits with bonding facilities and the bottling of wine and spirits here. This was the base for James Hartley, and a tenant, Thomas Allen involved in haulage from the 1850s. They were early users of steam and then petrol driven road transport. A major cargo was Guinness. The Wharf and warehouse was bought by the London City Bond company in 1980 and converted to flats in 1986-7 by Terry Farrell & Partners.
Alderman’s Stairs. Waterman’s Stairs. They have a gate pier at the road entrance topped by a spiked metal ball. Large square brick piers with white stone detail; The stairs link St Katharine’s Way to a causeway to the river and to a ramped passage to a public river walk to the south side of the adjacent Tower Bridge Wharf. Currently described as being in good condition.
Summit House. A small office block, of 1984-5 by Goddard Manton Partnership, replacing the Cock and Hen pub. Off-white metal cladding and sheer upper storeys of dark glass cantilevered from the steel frame. The address is 84 St. Katharine’s Way
Cock and Hen Pub. This was a 19th building. Cock and Hen clubs were places where prostitutes could be found. It was also known as the Cock and Lion for which records go back to the 1790s. The address was 84 St.Katharine’s Way but until 1915 86 Lower East Smithfield.
Tower Bridge Wharf. Built in 1985/86 on the site of the former Carron and Continental Wharf. A5-storey housing block by BUJ architects. Composed to suit the bend of the river.
Public terrace along the riverside. This runs along Tower Bridge Wharf.
Carron Wharf. Owned by the Falkirk based Carron ironworking company. Carron Shipping Company, founded in 1758They operated a regular service between here and Grangemouth and Glasgow. The wharf had facilities for bottling wines and spirits, and fresh produce went from here to Covent Garden. Demolished in 1974. It had two berths, with hydraulic cranes lining the jetty & quay
London and Continental Steam Wharf. The wharf was the site of a hydraulic pumping station in 1886. It was the site of two earlier wharves – Downe's and the Black Lion Wharf.
Black Lion Wharf. In 1859, the Black Lion Wharf this was the subject of an etching James McNeill Whistler. The wharf handled trade with Goole and also was used by a marble and stone merchant.
Downe’s Wharf. Used by freight and passenger services to Scotland in the 19th, and possibly handling ballast. In 1800 William Downe had owned the wharf but it was called Hawley's Wharf. It had an Engine House, a warehouse and several sub tenants. Downe himself used part of the wharf to handle mud, ashes and night soil – and was thus called other Dung Wharf.
Hermitage Dock. Hermitage Entrance, below, was built on the site of an older dock shown on 18th maps. In 1800 it was bounded by Downe’s Wharf to the west.
Catherine Wheel. This was on the west side of the dock entrance
Hermitage Entrance. This was the second of the entrances to the London Dock and it was opened in 1821. It provided access to the Western Basin for lighters and smaller vessels. Part of the dock entrance, with sandstone ashlar facings remaining. Because of its small size it was closed in 1909 and formed the site of the pumping station. There was a small tidal dock here before the Ladson Dock Co. bought the site in the 19th. In 1852 Cast iron plates were fixed on the East side show The Trinity High Water Line – which was measured from the ‘old stone’ here.
Hermitage Steam Wharf. This had previously been the Hermitage Coal Wharf. The steam wharf was owned by the London and Edinburgh Shipping Co. Ltd. Who operated a thrice weekly cargo and passenger service to Leith. It was the site of a hydraulic pumping station. The wharf was destroyed in Second World War bombing, and the company went into liquidation in 1964. It has been used as an air raid shelter during the war. From 1964 it was used by towage company, General Marine.
Hermitage Community Moorings. This is a co-operative which built, owns, and operates a mooring at Hermitage Wharf. It provides berths for up to 20 historic vessels:
Hermitage Wharf. Flats built 2001 by Berkeley Homes. Three massive towers by Andrew Cowan Architects copper clad with extensive glazing. The design of the street elevation is claimed to respect the traditional warehousing locally.
Memorial Garden. The memorial garden was built as the result of a long and difficult campaign by local people, with work by Marianne Fredericks, to claim some space for the community from the developers on what was the last undeveloped site in Wapping. It is a memorial to the thousands civilians killed in east London in the Second World War. A plaque reads, partly “The garden and memorial sculpture are in memory of the East London civilians who were killed and injured in the Second World War, 1939 - 1945, and of the suffering of those who lost relatives, friends and homes. Tens of thousands of men, women and children lost life and limb .......... More than a million homes were destroyed. The most intense bombing ... became known as the Blitz. ... In the first three months ... bombs rained on London almost every night. The Port of London ... was an important strategic target .... Countless bombs also fell on the surrounding densely packed streets of East and South East London, which were home to many of London’s poorest families. ..... The memorial sculpture was designed by Wendy Taylor CBE. The symbol of the dove is intended to suggest hope, rather than dwell intrusively on the dead. .
Hermitage Stairs. Old stairs have gone, new stairs end abruptly, no bottom flight.
Colonial Wharf. The warehouse was 7 floors high and was one of several warehouses owned by Colonial Wharves Limited and described as the largest warehouse complex in the area. It had been built in 1935 although previous wharves here had had the same name. Rubber, tea and oriental goods were handled there including cargos of tea, rubber and cocoa between London and Rouen. It was burnt down in 1937 in a big dramatic blaze which overstretched the resources of the London Fire Brigade.
Cinnabar Wharf. On the central block a life-sized mandarin-like figure stands on a first floor balcony staring out over the river. The development is by Berkeley Homes and was completed in the 1990s. Cinnabar is a made up estate agent's place name.
Voyage 2001. The stands alongside the river between the Central and East blocks of Cinnabar Wharf. The shape was apparently inspired by ships propellers and intended to link local maritime history with modern architecture. By Ethan Baldwin.
Union Stairs. The access to these from Wapping High Street was closed in 1951. A causeway ran from them into the river, from which some remains may still exist
Standard Wharves. Operated by Standard Wharves Ltd. Used for storage of groceries and canned goods by Allied Supplies in the 1940s. The wharf remained operational into the 1970s.
Watsons Wharf. Operated by Trueman’s Brewery 1862-1947.
Black Eagle Wharf. Used by Truman’s Brewery for unloading beer and operated by Watson’s Wharf Ltd. This is now flats. Most of the former warehouses and wharf on the site was used for handling casks of a;coholic drinks and have Truman’s beer with their sign of the black eagle.
Capital Wharf. Capital Wharf is a housing development built by Berkeley Homes. There are five constituent blocks, called: Trafalgar, Westminster, Parliament, Whitehall, and Tower. The site was originally Black Eagle Wharf. The original developer ran into problems and Berkeley Homes completed it.
Brewers’ Wharf. Also used by Truman’s
Parish Wharf. This is shown on the late 18th Horwood Plan
Hastie’s wharf .Built on the site of Bell Dock, a 17th dry dock. Handled canned goods. Hastie were Scotch oat meal manufacturers
St Helens wharf. Built on the site of Bell Dock, a 17th dry dock. Handled canned goods
St. Anthony’s Close
An extension on the line of what was once Burr Street
This quarter square coves only the eastern portion of St. Katharine’s Dock.
St Katharine Docks took their name from 12th hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower, which was previously on the site. Construction of the dock began in 1827. Some 1250 houses were demolished as well as the hospital. The dock was designed by Thomas Telford and designed in the form of two linked basins. In order to minimise quayside activity docks warehouses, designed Philip Hardwick, were built on the quayside so that goods could be unloaded directly onto them. The dock was unable to accommodate large ships and was not a commercial success. In 1864 they amalgamated with neighbouring London Docks, and taken over by the Port of London Authority in 1909. They were badly damaged in Second World War bombing. The Dock closed in 1968, and was sold to the Greater London Council. In the 1970s developers Taylor Woodrow replaced warehouses around the western basin with modern commercial buildings. The docks itself became a marina.
Eastern Dock. This opened in 1829. The warehouses around the dock were destroyed during the Blitz in 1940. Offices of the Port of London Authority and Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department were also destroyed. Their sites – those of E & F warehouses - remained vacant until the 1970s.
Commodity Quay. Designed for the London Commodity Exchange in 1984 by Watkins Gray International. It originally accommodated two trading floors with access off East Smithfield with firms dealing in coffee, sugar and cocoa, and also the International Petroleum Exchange which moved here in 1987, dealing in gas oil, heavy fuel oil, gasoline and crude oil. This replaced C Warehouse.
C Warehouse. This was a five storey warehouse for paper, sugar and general goods.
Marble Quay – built in the 1980s. A 3-storey ‘Dutch’ gabled structure with a restaurant and offices. This is an extension of Dickens Inn development providing homes and offices on a dockside where ships once unloaded marble from Italy
Ivory House. This lies between the two basins. It was once the centre of London's ivory trade and is the only warehouse still standing. It was designed in 1856-60 by George Aitchison sen., clerk of works to the St Katharine Dock Co. In 1968 it was used as artist’s studios after a campaign by Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley and later, in 1972-4, converted into flats and shops by Renton Howard Wood Associates. It had an original fire resistant construction with brick arches on wrought iron beams, but shop windows have since been inserted beneath the beams and balconies inserted on upper windows. There is a clock tower at the front.
Flats round the Eastern Dock. Six storey brick bocks of flats were built 1995-7 by Renton Howard Wood Associates.
South Quay Housing. The housing development on the south quay of the Eastern Dock Had 300 homes built for the Greater London Council. The scheme has pedestrian walkway links at the second floor.
City Quay. The North West and north east sides of the east basin are lined by modern flats designed by Norman and Dawburn and built between 1995-97 for Queensway Quay Development Co. This won the National Home Builders Design Award in 1999,
Housing along the South Quay. A terrace of buildings in weathered brick and weatherboarding by ATP Partnership 1982
St Katharine's Yacht Haven. Opened in 1973. This was the the only yacht haven in central London. There was at one time a collection of historic craft here which left in the 1990s
Dickens Inn. Pub with a weather boarded and galleried exterior by Renton Howard Wood Levin Partnership built in 1974-6. The internal structure of this building is genuinely old being made up of a third of the timber frame of a defunct warehouse. This was G Warehouse which was on the south side of the dock adjacent to South Devon House and may have once been a bean store. When the building was to be demolished a timber building from 1783 was found inside it and this predated the docks. This timber frame was moved on rollers from its original position to the present site to become The Dickens Inn. It has nothing to do with Dickens except that a descendant also called Charles opened it in 1976.
Retracting Footbridge. This spans the eastern passage and was built in 1994 by Brian Morton. It is however on the site an original double leaf bridge built in 1829 which crossed the entrance passage and is now preserved elsewhere on the quay. This was to a contractor's design, and a substitution for one in cast iron by Rhodes, Telford's assistant. It was manually operated, and the leaves withdrew under the quay so that boats could pass between the central basin and the east dock. It was the oldest moveable bridge in Docklands and one of the oldest surviving wrought iron bridges in England.
Tower Walk. Built in 1987 to the design of Watkins Gray International. This is a low crescent of houses, said to be inspired by Regent’s Park terraces
Some properties which have or had addresses in St. Katharine’s Way with a river frontage are under ‘Riverside’.
The road runs parallel to the northern approach to Tower Bridge. Until 1915 this was Lower East Smithfield.
72 President's Quay. HMS President. Built by Goiani Partnership's in 1984-5 for the Royal Naval Reserve with flats above. It has a front on the river which would be in the square to the west – South Devon House which handled wool. The Royal Naval Reserve form the Maritime Reserves. Their involvement ranges from operations, to counter-terrorism and anti-piracy work in the Gulf. The London Division was established in 1903. Early training was held on board HMS Buzzard which was replaced in 1911 by a Flower class corvette named HMS President. In the 1930’s, this was joined by HMS Chrysanthemum and they both lay on the Embankment. In 1988, both ships were sold and the unit moved to its current location which was a P & O London jetfoil terminal bought by the Crown Estate in 1983.
St Katharine's Estate, which extends to St Katharine's Way. Built by the London County Council in the 1930s. Built on the site of the Red Lion Brewery
Stephen and Matilda. Housing Co-operative in LCC blocks of flats
Red Lion Brewery. Latterly know as Hoare and Co. This stood to the east of St. Katharine's Docks. It may have been the oldest brewery in Britain As early as 1492 the brew house was subject to regulation and it is said there was a public brew house here where Londoners could bring their own material, and for a fee, brew their own ales... In 1705 the brewery belonged to Alderman Humphrey Parsons. Water came from a well sun to the depth of 100 ft., below which were two bore-holes 300 ft. down to the chalk. Owned by Samuel Goodwyn in 1794 it has been claimed as the first brewery to install a steam engine It was owned by Hoare's, the bankers from 1802 – 1933 it pioneered many changes and developments in brewing, and was as a prime producer of 'porter beer' and later owning or leasing many famous tied pubs throughout the south east. Sailing barges at the brewery delivered malt from the east coast. There were malt warehouses in the brewery buildings said to be the oldest part of the premises, with old staircases with broad landings and turnings. The brewery closed in the 1930s and is the site of the LCC estate
122 Riveria Court. Hydraulic Pumping Station designed by Cubit in 1856 for the London Dock Company . From 1890s this was used by W.Badger, marine storage company. It has a tower, and once had a chimney. It has been converted to flats.
Thomas More Street
This previously called Nightingale Lane. It was known for its arrangement of Bastille-like warehouses.
Stream. Old maps of St.Mary Graces Abbey show a stream running alongside Nightingale Lane. It was possibly on this that the Crashe Mills stood.
Thomas More Square. Office development, designed by Sheppard Robson for Scandinavian developers Skanska, 1988-90
Takes traffic through the area of warehouses and infilled Western dock basin. It was built about 1980 for which the dock was re-infilled.
Hermitage Primary School. Built by the Inner London Education Authority’s Architect's Department in 1985-9. It has a central octagonal lantern tower to make it a low-key landmark. There is a mural on the outside wall.
Canal. Vaughan Way passes over what was the Inner Entrance Lock to the Western Basin from the former Hermitage basins. It is flanked by massive, curved sandstone walls have been turned into an impressive landscape feature by a grand flight of steps. The walls were shaped with recesses shaped to the cast-iron swing bridge which stood here and which was stolen in 1976. It was of thick cast iron and had been much repaired with riveted plates after impact damage
Wapping High Street.
The road was built around 1570 to link the legal quays in the City to the new warehouses downstream. It was described in the 1590s by John Stow, as a 'filthy strait passage, with alleys of small tenements or cottages. Inhabited by sailors' victuallers'. In 1879 the Metropolitan Board of Works widened it but its narrowness and the high buildings either side – even all the new flats – give it a very particular style. It has been renumbered more than once – and some properties listed below can be found under a variety of street numbers.
1 Scotts Arms site. This pub was demolished in 2004 and the site is now a glass block partly used as a Thai restaurant
5 Halcyon Wharf, built by Stock Woolstencroft in 2003. Steel with red-terracotta tiles is almost a cliché of late 1990s design.
Riverside memorial garden to civilians killed in the Blitz – see above under Riverside
13 Buchanan’s Warehouse. Present in the early 20th
Royal Jubilee buildings. These were tenement blocks, since demolished
18-24 13-15 Colonial Wharves – see Riverside above
22 Globe. Closed and demolished. This pub moved to a number of adjacent sites in the area due to road widening.
23 Tower Works. Birt cork merchants – the works was the site of a major fire in 1887
26-36 Globe Sufferance Wharf
30 Turks Head Inn – supposedly the condemned were allowed a drink here on the way to Execution Dock. This is not the pub which is now a cafe.
39 Wilkins and Weatherly. Wire rope makers – an important company who made a big contribution to the development of submarine cables.
42 Thistle and Crown. Pub extant in the late 19th
Aldous. Landlords to London
Banbury. Shipbuilders of the Thames and Medway
Bird. Geography of the Port of London
CAMRA. City and East London Beer Guide,
Clunn. The Face of London
Dockland History Group. Web site
East End Free Art. Web site
East London Record
Ellmers and Werner. London’s Lost Riverscape
Field. London Place Names,
Friends of the Earth. London Gasworks sites
Kieve. History of the Telegraph
London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Web site
London Docklands guide
Long. City of London Safari
Nairn. Nairn’s London
Pevsner and Williamson. London Docklands
Picture the Past. Web site
PortCities. Web site
Port of London Magazine
Quay 430. Web site.
River Thames Society. Web site
Royal Navy Reserve. Web site
St.Katharine’s Dock. Wikipedia Web site
Sexby. London Parks
South Quay Estate. Wikipedia Web site
Stewart. Gas works in the North Thames Area
Thames Basin Archaeology of Industry. Survey
The Telcon story
Thompson. The Making of the English Working Class
Watkin. The Old Straight Track