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Old January 29th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #1
El_Greco
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Limehouse Shadwell And Wapping.East London.

Limehouse Shadwell And Wapping



Limehouse.
The name 'Limehouse' is often thought to have been derived from the nickname for the seamen that disembarked there who had earned the name 'Lime-juicers' or 'Limeys' after the obligatory ration of lime juice the English Navy gave their sailors to ward off scurvy.However the name is in fact due to the local lime-kilns operated by the large potteries that served the London docks.
From its earliest days Limehouse like neighbouring Wapping has followed the sea.This was one of Londons most important ports from late medieval times with extensive docks and wharves including the enclosed Limehouse Basin.
The Limehouse area was also notorious for opium dens in the late 19th century.

Shadwell.
Virtually uninhabited until the 17th century Shadwell was originally a marine-centred hamlet with roperies tan yards breweries wharves smiths and numerous taverns which built up around the chapel of St Paul's.Seventy-five sea captains are buried in its churchyard while Captain Cook had his son baptised there.The name supposedly derives from an unpleasant (Shad literally 'shite') local well.The name of Shad Thames on the south bank has a similar origin.
The area is dominated by the enclosed former dock Shadwell Basin.This once formed the eastern entrance to the then London docks with a channel leading west to St Katherines Dock.


Wapping.
The area was first settled by Saxons from whom it takes its name (meaning literally "[the place of] Wćppas people").It developed along the embankment of the Thames hemmed in by the river to the south and the now-drained Wapping Marsh to the north.This gave it a peculiarly narrow and constricted shape consisting of little more than the axis of Wapping High Street and some north-south side streets.John Stow the 16th century historian described it as a "continual street or a filthy strait passage with alleys of small tenements or cottages built inhabited by sailors' victuallers."
Wappings proximity to the river gave it a strong maritime character for centuries.It was inhabited by sailors mastmakers boat-builders blockmakers instrument-makers victuallers and representatives of all the other trades that supported the seafarer.Wapping was also the site of 'Execution Dock' where pirates and other water-borne criminals faced execution by hanging from a gibbet constructed close to the low water mark.Their bodies would be left dangling until they had been submerged three times by the tide.



Limekiln Dock.
The Limekiln Dock was once lined with busy wharves particular Dunbar Wharf (The first passengers for Australia left from here.)
which served Duncan Dunbars large shipping fleet.



Narrow Street.
A combination of tides and currents made this point on the Thames a natural landfall for ships the first wharf being completed in 1348.Lime (mineral) kilns or 'Lymehostes' used in the production of mortar and pottery were built at this location in the fourteenth century.The area grew rapidly in Elizabethan times as a center for world trade.River workers gravitated to the area to offload imported goods from ships to the then new Limehouse Bridge Dock now Limehouse Basin.By the reign of James I nearly half of the areas 2000 population were mariners.Ships Chandlers settled here building wooden houses and wharves in the cramped space between street and river indeed Narrow Street may take its name from the closeness of the original buildings now demolished which stood barely a few meters apart on each side of the street.In 1661 Samuel Pepys visited a porcelain factory in Narrow Street alighting via Duke Shore Stairs while en route to view work on boats being built for Herring fishing.The Limehouse area fitted out repaired and resupplied ships.Taylor Walker & Co Ltd started brewing at the site of today's Narrow Street Pub and Dining Room (formerly "The Barley Mow") in 1823.Limehouse Basin was one of the first docks to close in the late 1960s.Much of Narrow Street and Nicholas Hawksmoors’ Church St Annes Limehouse was chosen as a conservation area by the London Docklands Development Corporation in the 1980s.In 1993 the 1.8 km Limehouse Link tunnel was opened moving heavy traffic away from Narrow street.



The Grapes.
The fact this long narrow little pub has managed to survive the frenzy of Docklands redevelopment shows what a special place it is.Now a listed building it stands at the end of a row of similar dwellings some of whose residents are knights and lords.
Built in 1720 on the site of a previous pub the Grapes was a working class tavern serving the workers of the Limehouse Basin.There are unsavoury stories of watermen taking drunks from the pub drowning them in the river then selling their corpses for medical dissection.
Charles Dickens knew this pub well.As a child he was made to stand on a table and sing to the customers.As an adult he immortalised it as the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters pub in Our Mutual Friend.



St Anne's Limehouse.
St Anne's Limehouse is one of several East End of churches created by Nicholas Hawksmoor who was Sir Christopher Wrens most talented pupil.
The splendid Baroque church probably Hawksmoors most dramatic creation was built between 1714 - 1725 in what were then open fields.
The immense size of the church is a reflection on the importance of Limehouse.Its great tower soon became a landmark for ships using the East End docks.The clock tower is the second highest in Britain after Big Ben and was built by the same makers.
In 1850 the church was seriously damaged by fire.Whilst the building was being restored the interior was 'Victorianized' by the architect Philip Hardwick.
St Anne’s suffered little during World War II although the surrounding area was enormously affected.
Through the 80s and 90s the church benefited from exterior renovation and landscaping.





Limehouse Basin.
The Basin built by the Regents Canal Company was formerly known as Regents Canal Dock and was used by seagoing vessels and lighters to offload cargoes to canal barges for onward transport along the Regents Canal.Although initially a commercial failure following its opening in 1820 by the mid 19th century the dock (and the canal) were an enormous commercial success for the importance in the supply of coal to the numerous gasworks and latterly electricity generating stations along the canal and for domestic and commercial use.At one point it was the principal entrance from the Thames to the entire national canal network.Its use declined with the growth of the railways although the revival of canal traffic during World War I and World War II gave it a brief swansong.







Limehouse Town Hall.
Limehouse Town Hall has been through several changes over the years.Originally it was one of a number of Town Halls in Tower Hamlets along with Poplar Town Hall and St Georges Town Hall.
The Grade II listed Hall was built in 1878 by A. and C. Harston and served as the hub for local administration until local government was reorganised to form Tower Hamlets Council in 1965.The building has seen a variety of uses since including serving as the National Museum of Labour History but it was placed on English Heritages list of buildings at risk in 2003.In October 2006 the building was given a restoration grant by English Heritage and is in the process of being renovated as a centre for arts and culture in particular local history projects.



Free Trade Wharf.
One of the largest of the wharves and frequently called 'the madhouse'.Some of its warehouses had been built and used by the East India Company.
It closed in 1971.



Metropolitan Wharf.



Execution Dock.
Execution Dock was used by the Admiralty for over 400 years (as late as 1830) to hang pirates that had been convicted by its courts and sentenced to die.The Admiralty only had jurisdiction over crimes on the sea so the dock was located within their jurisdiction by being located far enough offshore as to be beyond the low-tide mark.It was used to kill the notorious Captain Kidd.Many prisoners would be executed together as a public event in front of a crowd of onlookers after being paraded from the Marshalsea Prison across the London Bridge and past the Tower of London to the dock.





The Prospect of Whitby.
This is one of the most famous pubs in London.It dates from 1543 built as a simple tavern.In the seventeenth century it had a reputation as a meeting place for smugglers and villains and became known as 'Devils Tavern'.A fire gutted the Devils Tavern in the eighteenth century.It was rebuilt and renamed the Prospect of Whitby after a ship that was moored nearby.



Olivers Wharf.
Built in 1870 in a stunning Tudor gothic style it was still handling cargoes in 1937.Redundant in the early seventies it was one of the first warehouses to be converted into luxury apartments.



Town of Ramsgate.
The curiously named Town of Ramsgate is a long narrow pub next to an alleyway known as Wapping Old Stairs.The stairs lead down to the riverside where fishermen from Ramsgate Kent sold their catch.The pub was formerly called the Red Cow supposedly because a barmaid there had red hair.
Hemmed in by its neighbours a former warehouse and an elegant merchants house this charming little pub was once part of a lively and bustling port.



St Katharine Docks.
St Katharine Docks took their name from the former hospital of St Catherine by the Tower built in the 12th century which stood on the site.By the early 19th century over 11000 people were crammed into insanitary slums in the area.The entire site was earmarked for redevelopment by an Act of Parliament in 1825 with construction commencing in May 1827.The scheme was designed by engineer Thomas Telford his only major project in London.To create as much quayside as possible the docks were designed in the form of two linked basins (East and West) both accessed via an entrance lock from the Thames.Steam engines designed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton kept the water level in the basins about four feet above that of the tidal river.
Telford aimed to minimise the amount of quayside activity and specified that the docks' warehouses be built right on the quayside so that goods could be unloaded directly into the warehouses (designed by the architect Philip Hardwick).
The docks were officially opened on 25 October 1828.Although well used they were not a great commercial success and were unable to accommodate large ships.They were amalgamated in 1864 with the neighbouring London Docks.In 1909 the Port of London Authority took over the management of almost all of the Thames docks including the St Katharine.
The St Katharine Docks were badly damaged by German bombing during the Second World War and never fully recovered thereafter.Because of their very restricted capacity and inability to cope with large modern ships they were the first to be closed in 1968 and were sold to the Greater London Council.





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Last edited by El_Greco; January 30th, 2007 at 03:59 AM.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 08:12 PM   #2
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Excellent...thank you.
After living in LDN for 6 years I tend to forget about these interesting places right on my doorstep.
I'm going to go and have a beer at The Prospect of Whitby.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #3
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Fascinating thread and great pictures El Greco. Must be great living in one of those converted warehouse apartments. Maybe one day................
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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #4
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I wonder how many men have been up St Anne's passage? Sorry, couldn't resist it!
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Old January 29th, 2007, 11:19 PM   #5
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Nice work El_Greco! An excellent thread!
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Old January 30th, 2007, 12:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuomiPoika View Post
Nice work El_Greco! An excellent thread!
I knew that you would like this thread Suomi, as you are always going on about how much you love the historic parts of East London!

I don't know the area very well, I've only been to Wapping a couple of times, but I'll make sure that I pay the area a visit sometime soon. I particularly love that picture of Free Trade Wharf, it almost feels like you've gone back in time! I also love Metropolitan Wharf. El Greco, is this how it still looks? I actually love the urban decay, but it will look equally great once it's been converted into riverside apartments.

I really hope that people don't think that this is just another generic London thread and don't bother to have a look - this is a unique area of London, an area that many people probably think doesn't exist anymore, an area that time forgot, full of ghosts of the past - Jack the Ripper London, Charles Dickens London, historic working-class industrial London. Much of it has gone, but there is still a fair bit there and we should be grateful for that.

Thanks again El Greco.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 06:05 AM   #7
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Nice, just needs some more life down there...looks quiet.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 12:24 PM   #8
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great shots, thanks for all the info too!
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Old January 30th, 2007, 12:25 PM   #9
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Nice thread El Greco, rarely see these parts of London on the forums.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowyBoy1 View Post
I knew that you would like this thread Suomi, as you are always going on about how much you love the historic parts of East London!
Yes that´s true

I think Greco captured the historic spirit of this area very well. I agree with aquablue though that the area needs more life. New pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafés would bring more people over there.

Btw. How old are the gallows in the Execution Dock pic? I mean that one in particular can´t be 400 years old can it?
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Old January 30th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #11
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It does look a bit dead in those photos but I think that it's usually a bit livelier than that. Certainly the couple of times that I've been to Wapping, it's been fairly lively. Perhaps El Greco deliberately chose to take the photos at a quiet time of day to give his photos more of a haunting ghost-town feel about them, as this is how people generally perceive the historical East End to be.

Wapping is a very fashionable area now, apparently Rod Stewart now owns an apartment there!
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeebee View Post
Excellent...thank you.
After living in LDN for 6 years I tend to forget about these interesting places right on my doorstep.
I'm going to go and have a beer at The Prospect of Whitby.
Youre welcome mate
Sure visit that pub youll like it.Its really a great place.
Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowyBoy1 View Post
I also love Metropolitan Wharf. El Greco, is this how it still looks? I actually love the urban decay, but it will look equally great once it's been converted into riverside apartments.
Metropolitan Wharf already been converted into apartments and offices.
Thanks mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuomiPoika View Post
I think Greco captured the historic spirit of this area very well. I agree with aquablue though that the area needs more life. New pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafés would bring more people over there.
Btw. How old are the gallows in the Execution Dock pic? I mean that one in particular can´t be 400 years old can it?
Oh theres alot of pubs and clubs in Wapping but it still is a very quiet place and thats why I like it.
I hate crowded places you see
Gallows are new btw

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowyBoy1 View Post
Wapping is a very fashionable area now, apparently Rod Stewart now owns an apartment there!
In September 2006 'The Narrow Street Pub and Dining Room' was purchased by Gordon Ramsay with the intention of developing it into a gastropub.
So yeah the area is very fashionable.

Thanks people
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Old May 30th, 2008, 05:24 PM   #13
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Excellent...thank you
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:28 PM   #14
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Quite a historic area but for some reason it doesn't appeal to me I don't know what it is but I've never liked it, I get the impression that it's too far from everything else. Of course that doesn't mean that it is an unpleasant area beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing, brings back good memories, haven't been there in a while.

cheers!
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Old May 31st, 2008, 04:49 PM   #15
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I'll move el Greco's most excellent photos to the Urban Showcase section!
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Old May 31st, 2008, 04:56 PM   #16
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What an excellent compelation of the (in my humble opinion) more interesting areas of London.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 09:19 PM   #17
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Lovin the pics and the bit historical commentary that's with it
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Old June 19th, 2008, 01:37 PM   #18
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Beautiful pictures and fascinating text. Thanks for posting.
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