Rotherhithe, Surrey Docks, 
Surrey Quays, London SE16

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This page contains numerous links to internal and external sites related to the Rotherhithe peninsula in South East London, as well as other information. Bookmark this page so you can find it again.


Maps  Transport  Shopping  Leisure  Canada Water Campaign
Education  Health  Public services  Politics  Local Businesses 
History  Sport  Housing  Personal sites  Cultural references 
Hotels  Visits  Religion  Newspapers  Neighbours 
Local Groups  Pubs  Time and Talents  Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Development Partnership
Labour Party  Walks    Millennium Group Comments and new links

Maps  (return to contents)

Rotherhithe is in the extreme north east of the London Borough of Southwark. Cycle Routes are numerous. Since May 2002 it has been divided politically between "Rotherhithe" and "Surrey Docks". Greenwood produced maps in 1827 of London, including Rotherhithe. Charles Booth's 1889 Map Descriptive of London Poverty also includes Rotherhithe. London Transport has a pdf bus map centred on Canada Water. The Environment Agency has maps of the places it records environmental and flood plain information, including around Rotherhithe. have produced aerial photos of much of the country, including Rotherhithe.

Transport  (return to contents)

The three main road links to Rotherhithe are Jamaica Road (A200) going west to Bermondsey and Tower Bridge, Lower Road (A200) going south to Deptford and Greenwich and, in theory, the Rotherhithe Tunnel going north under the River Thames to Limehouse - the tunnel will face further pressure when new restrictions are introduced on driving in central London. Rotherhithe New Road goes to the Old Kent Road and Peckham.  The main road round the peninsula is a combination of Brunel Road, Salter Road and Redriff Road, with Rotherhithe Street running parallel to these. The southern end of Lower Road is part of a confusing one-way system.

By Underground, the East London Line runs from Whitechapel (with connections to the District and Hammersmith and City lines) and Shoreditch to New Cross and New Cross Gate (with British Rail connections), with a long history for such a small part of the network  The local stops are Rotherhithe, Canada Water (opened in 1999 and with lifts for the disabled), and Surrey Quays.  It may be extended North and South. The Jubilee Line extension from Stanmore and Central London to Stratford, via Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome at North Greenwich, opened in 1999, with stations at Canada Water and Bermondsey (also with a lift).

There are numerous London Buses running to or through Rotherhithe, including the C10 and 381 which go round the peninsula, the 47 and 188 and P12 which go through Lower Road, and the 1 , 199 and 225 which start at Canada Water Underground Station.  The N1, N47 and N381 run at night (the N381 goes round the peninsula).

Rotherhithe and the Docks have the highest density of cycle lanes in the borough, with notable routes including Rotherhithe Street, the Albion Channel, the ecological park and Russia Dock woodland, and Greenland Dock. A detailed map is published by Southwark Council with the London Cycling Campaign and Southwark Cyclists, while a rough map is here.

The nearest railway stations are some distance away, including London Bridge with connections to the rest of London and the South of England and the less convenient South Bermondsey.

The nearest airport is London City; go to Canning Town by Underground and then take a bus - or soon the DLR. Heathrow is on the Underground, while Gatwick and Luton can be reached by Thameslink train from London Bridge.  Stansted requires a train from Liverpool Street.

By boat, Collins River Enterprises runs a service for Greenland Pier to Canary Wharf and upstream along the river to the Savoy (timetable). There is also a service between the Holiday Inn at Nelson Dock and Canary Wharf.   City Cruises operate from Cherry Garden Pier, and have a webcam pointed at Tower Bridge.

Shopping (return to contents)

The Surrey Quays Shopping Centre is the major attraction for shoppers. Nearby is the massive Decathlon (Décathlon en français) set of sports shops. Albion Street, Lower Road, Jamaica Road and the nearby Southwark Park Road in Bermondsey also have a surprisingly wide collection of shops.

Leisure  (return to contents)

The new Leisure Park behind the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre already has Riva Bingo, ten-pin bowling and video games at Hollywood Bowl , together with food and drink at Quincey's American Bar and Grill, Pizza Hut, Fatty Arbuckle's and Original with its own cafe and micro brewery. There is also a 9 screen UCI Cinema with most runs starting on Fridays .

There is a large indoor swimming pool and more (such as the Tanseikan Aikido Club) at the Seven Islands Leisure Centre in Lower Road, outdoor sport and training at the Southwark Park Sports Complex, and aquatic pursuits at the Surrey Docks Watersports Centre at Greenland Dock. For those with a boat, there is South Dock Marina. Bacon's College has facilities for hire and groups such as Kikusui Kai Aikido meet there.

There are many restaurants in the area. One which seeks to attract half of London is Downtown with its hen parties.

Many local groups promote leisure activities. In particular, Time & Talents has a weekly timetable packed with opportunites aimed at all age groups from under 5s to over 50s.

Many of the local pubs have live music and quiz nights, such as the Mayflower quiz on Tuesdays.

Visits  (return to contents)

Brunel's Engine House was built to help construct the first underwater tunnel in the world (now used by the East London Line) and is open on the first Sunday of each month.

There is a pump house from the old docks, at Lavender Road stands the Lavender Dock Pump House re-named the Pumphouse Educational Museum, open Monday to Friday 9.30 - 3.30. Meanwhile, the former London Hydraulic Company's works next to Canada Water Bus station have been derelict for many years and now being redeveloped into high priced flats.

The Surrey Docks City Farm provides urban children (and adults) a chance to meet farm animals locally and to understand agricultural life more generally. It has a working blacksmith (offering an apprenticeship).

These and other local sites had open houses on 20 August 2000 during the Rotherhithe Millennium Festival, on Sunday 2nd September 2001 at the Rotherhithe Festival 2001 and on Sunday 14th July 2002 at the Rotherhithe Festival 2002, at the Rotherhithe Festival 2003, on 11 July 2004 at the Rotherhithe Festival 2004, and on 3 July 2005 at the Rotherhithe Festival 2005.(The names are clear if unoriginal).

Mayflower 1620 Ltd, a Southwark tour guide training provider has a set of pictures of some of the local sites in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey.

Pubs (or some of them)  (return to contents)

Adam & Eve  47 Swan Rd 
Albion  20 Albion St 
Angel  101 Bermonsey Wall East 
Blacksmiths Arms  257 Rotherhithe St 
Clipper  562 Rotherhithe St 
Cock & Monkey  86 Neptune St 
Lord Nelson  66-68 Canon Beck Rd 
Mayflower  127 Rotherhithe Street 
Moby Dick  6 Russia Court East 
Old Justice  94 Bermondsey Wall East 
Originals Brewing  Mast Leisure Park 
Quebec Curve  Quebec Way 
Ship  39 St. Marychurch St 
Ship and Whale Gulliver St
Spice Island  163 Rotherhithe St 
Surrey Docks Tavern  351 Rotherhithe St 
Surrey Docks  185 Lower Road 
Three Compasses  346-348 Rotherhithe St 
Two Brewers  35 West Lane 

This may not be a complete list. Compare it with the list of pubs in Rotherhithe in 1881, though some have changed their names (for example the Mayflower used to be the Spread Eagle).

Walks  (return to contents)

There are several walks set out in the area, including the Thames Path along the river (where Wharves and Housing do not get in the way), the Rotherhithe Walk through the old village, the Lavender Dock walk and the nearby ecological park and Russia Dock Woodland. It is easy (and indeed fun) to get lost. The only real landmark is Canary Wharf to the east (or north-east) across the river - the angle at which it appears can be used for navigation. Some of the signposts are unreliable or confusing; those aimed at cyclists tend to be better .

The Thames Path is a national trail of 180 miles (288 km.) from the source of the Thames near Kemble in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier between Silvertown and Charlton. A guide by David Sharp The Thames Path is published by Aurum Press in association with the Countryside Commission (now Countryside Agency) , Ordnance Survey and the Ramblers Association . It includes a description of the walk from Tower Bridge, past the Angel Pub and the traces of Edward III's Manor House (coming downstream from Tower Bridge and Bermondsey) through the narrow alleys of old Rotherhithe, past St Mary's Church and the Mayflower pub, to Cumberland Wharf and the statue Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim's Pocket of a Pilgrim Father's astonishment at a 1930's comic describing the USA. You pass a jetty (now closed) with an odd metal bird. When forced back onto Rotherhithe Street, you cross a dock bridge and pass the Spice Island pub. The most pleasant part of the riverside walk is at Sovereign Crescent, entering through no-entry signs (for cars). Eventually back on Rotherhithe Street, at Lavender Road stands the Lavender Dock Pump House re-named the Pumphouse Educational Museum. The walk goes past Nelson's Dock and the Hilton, and on to Surrey Docks Farm . Finally, Odessa Street in Downtown takes you to Greenland Dock and South Dock, reminders of how the Surrey Commercial Docks once covered the area, and on to Deptford. There is also an "online guide". In reverse, much of this route forms the first part of the "Pilgrim Trail". A wide angle view from the Canary Wharf Jetty across the river shows part of the riverside.

Southwark Park was opened in 1869 - a sensible attempt to rename it as Rotherhithe Park was rejected by the London County Council in 1922 - and provides an opportunity for walks as well as festivals and carnivals. It has an art gallery.

John Butler's landscape photographs illustrate some of the greener parts of the area.

Education  (return to contents)

Southwark Council is the local education authority, with primary schools including Albion School, Alfred Salter School, Redriff School, and Rotherhithe School, with the Church of England primary at Peter Hills, and the Roman Catholic primaries St John's and St Joseph's also in the area. Bacon's College (a Church of England City Technology College) is the local secondary school, though many pupils commute in and out of the area. It is establishing a local schools' network. The nearest RC secondary school is St Michael's in Bermondsey. Aylwin Girls Scool is in Southwark Park Road.

Ofsted run inspections of schools, sometimes controversially. Here are some of their reports (pdf):

Nurseries  Inspection of 03-12-1998 Bosco Centre
Inspection of 19-07-1999 Lavender House
Inspection of 19-07-1999 Playshack
Inspection of 23-11-2000 Scallywags
Inspection of 18-09-2000 Sunshine Corner
Inspection of 07-02-2000 Surrey Docks 
Primaries  Inspection of 27-06-2000 Albion School
Inspection of 23-06-1997 Alfred Salter
Inspection of 23-03-1998 Peter Hills CofE
Inspection of 11-10-1999 Redriff
Inspection of 23-02-1998 Rotherhithe
Inspection of 27-04-1998 St John's RC
Inspection of 15-06-1998 St Joseph's RC 
Secondary  Inspection of 13-05-1996 Bacon's College 

For further education, Southwark College has a local site in Surrey Docks, with other sites in the borough. Lambeth College and Lewisham College are also nearby.

If you want to do it yourself, Rotherhithe Library can at least be a place to start.

Health (return to contents)

In this part of south east London National Health Services are delivered by the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Health Authority, who publish lists of local GP surgeries, dentists, and other services. Southwark Community Health Council can give advice and support about the local NHS. The local hospital is Guys, part of the Guys and St Thomas' Hospital Trust and the United Medical and Dental School , which has just merged with King's College . However, its A&E Department closed in September 1999, being left with a daytime Minor Injuries Department. The nearest casualty hospitals are St Thomas', Lewisham, Greenwich and Kings. If your needs are urgent, the London Ambulance Service will try to get you there. For advice at home, you can try NHS Direct on the web or by phoning 0845 4647. Social Services are provided by Southwark Council.

The Rotherhithe Workhouse in Lower Road closed in 1884, but left its infirmary, later to be called St Olave's Hospital (named after the Poor Law Union, which in turn was named after an old church in Tooley Street near London Bridge - the similarity with the local Norwegian Church St Olaf's is just a coincidence, the man himself being a Norwegian King who converted Norway to Christianity and helped defend London against Danish invasion - Tooley is another version of St Olave). St. Olave's Hospital started to be restricted in 1970 and finally closed in 1984: all that remains is St Olave's House, a nursing home which is part of the South London Family Housing Association Group.

Public Services  (return to contents)

Most local services are provided by Southwark Council (including education, social services, housing, waste collection etc.) Southwark has established Area Forums ("fora" to those forced to learn Latin) across the borough, including Number 2 covering Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. The first meeting was on 3 February 2001, to be followed by one on 12 March at the Beomund Centre, 177 Abbey Street SE1 at 7-9 pm.

Southwark Council's Planning Department makes it possible to look at a summary of recent applications. Rotherhithe can be found either as "Dockyard" ward (at least until May 2002) or covering a wider area "Rotherhithe" village.

The Mayor of London (Ken Livingstone) and the Greater London Assembly (including the representative for Southwark and Lambeth Val Shawcross) have a predominately co-ordinating role, but with particular functions related to transport, regional economic development, and the police and fire services.

The local Metropolitan Police station is in Lower Road open from 6am to 10pm, part of the Southwark Division. If it not worth a 999 call, try 020-7231 1212 (though you will still get a switchboard). Outside these hours, try Southwark Police Station on 020-7378 1212.

There are Fire Stations on Deptford Road and Dockhead (at the west end of Jamaica Road), though the Fire Brigade is considering closing these and opening one in Surrey Docks.

The Employment Service has a Jobcentre in Albion Street.

The Office for National Statistics has produced a variety of data to describe Dockyard Ward, including a text profile, some key numbers, and the opportunity to select more information. Interestingly, some of these numbers do not meet the National Statistics quality standard which gives the ONS its name. allows you to type in your postcode and see what advertisers think you and your neighbours are like. Here's what they say about the area around Peter Hills' School.

Politics  (return to contents)

Rotherhithe is part of the North Southwark and Bermondsey constituency which (like most of the rest of the UK) saw a swing to Labour in the May 1997 General Election, though with a swing in the opposite direction in 2001. In the 1999 European Parliament elections, the Labour Party list came first in the constituency, overtaking the Liberal Democrats for the first time in 17 years. The local Conservatives only got 7% of the vote in the two General Elections but almost doubled this in the Euro-elections.

Locally it is part of the London Borough of Southwark, until April 2002 being called Dockyard Ward. Because of recent population growth, it was split in May 2002 into an easterly ward called Surrey Docks and a westerly ward called Rotherhithe. In the Southwark Council elections in 2002, the council remained under "no overall control".

Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has been admistering the London region. Val Shawcross is the member of the Assembly representing Southwark and Lambeth.

Local Businesses (return to contents)

City Cruises, Cherry Garden Pier  Patcom Media Relations London Bubble 
Sands Films and Squirrel Films  European Bakeries  Testbank London 
Mission Control artists agency  Ainsworth & Associates  Migold 
Antipodean Solutions  TW Personnel  Skillion 
Raceways Motorcycle Rental  Jan Horrox Knitwear  Arena Group
International Salvage Union (ISU) Welcome to London
City Computers and Timeslice  Bunkerfuels UK  Ski Safari
Machina Publishing Services King Stairs Software  TCS Group
Richard Johnson Hairdressing Talent International  Biriyok Show
Axan Graphics Web Design Anthony Pristavec Black Voices
SS & S Compulabs Above The Sky Records Destiny Films
Institute for Complementary Medicine Data Investments (LPS) Domaine Thébot
Rotherhithe Picture Research Library Abraham Christian Shirts Neon Electric
Chartered Institute of Journalists  Vikki Heron + Rolf Driver Indigo Creative
Barging through France Island Design Hawkeye Security
Redriff Jazz CERF/IIEC  

History  (return to contents)

Rotherhithe has been a manor and ecclesiastical parish since the early Middle Ages. Politically, it was a separate civil parish until 1900 (in Surrey until 1889); it then became part of the Borough of Bermondsey until 1965 (in the County of London); and it is now in Greater London and the London Borough of Southwark.

The Story of Rotherhithe, a book written by Stephen Humphrey and published by the London Borough of Southwark and its Local Studies Library (Neighbourhood History No. 6), suggests that Rotherhithe was first mentioned by name in the early 12th century in the reign of King Henry I. By contrast, the Council's Rotherhithe internet history page says it was first mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 898. Part of the problem is changes of name. Redriff (as in the local road and school) is the same word as Rotherhithe, both meaning either mariners haven or cattle landing point, depending on the source.

About half of Rotherhithe was given to Bermondsey Abbey in the early 12th century by King Henry I. It later acquired much of the rest, though losing everything under King Henry VIII. King Edward III built a manor house in the mid 14th century (with the foundations still visible).

Shipbuilding was a traditional industry, and shipwrights in Rotherhithe competed with those on the north side of the river; those to the north (being freemen of the City of London) described those on the Surrey bank as "foreigners". Despite this, the Rotherhithe Shipwrights petitioned Queen Elizabeth I in 1578 for the right to control the industry on the Thames, and in 1612 received a Royal Charter from King James I for the The Master, Wardens and Commonalty of the Art or Mystery of Shipwrights of Redriff in the County of Surrey. This led to a long and protracted dispute about jurisdiction with what would later become the City Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights ; the dispute continued until 1684 when the charter was canceled.

The Howland Wet Dock (renamed Greenland Dock once the whaling trade was centred there) was the second wet dock in London, built in 1696-1700, and was much bigger than its predecessor at Blackwell. It later became the property of the Russell family through careful marriage of a Howland heiress. By 1810, it was also being used for timber (Deal porters stacked the softwood imports) and corn, becoming part of the Commercial Docks, and some years later was taken over by the Surrey Commercial Dock Company as part of a network of docks in Rotherhithe. They tried to build a canal to Portsmouth, but only got as far as Peckham.

The Thames Tunnel built by the Brunels was the first sub-aqueous tunnel in the world and provided a walkway to the north bank of the Thames at Wapping. It was later taken over for railway traffic, and on 12 June 1908 was joined by the Rotherhithe Tunnel to Limehouse for motor traffic, opened by the Prince of Wales and Richard Atkinson Robinson, Chairman of the London County Council.

The Docks were destroyed during the Blitz and many other Rotherhithe building were flattened in the Second World War, but trade recovered quickly in the 1940s and 50s. However, this was short lived and the growing size of ships, London traffic congestion and the move to pallets and containerisation lead to decline and eventually in 1970 to the closure of the Docks. Southwark Council slowly started the measures needed for regeneration, but its land and most of its powers were transferred to the London Dockland Development Corporation (LDDC) in 1981, leading to substantial amounts of central government money being made available. The powers and responsibilities were transferred back in 1996-1998.

The Corporation of London and iBase Image Systems sells prints of old pictures of Rotherhithe. Peter Marshall has some photos from the late 1970s and early 1980s. The South East London Guide has a chronology (though I think Canute was a Dane). A more complete timeline produced by Robert Brook covers Bermondsey as well, and has separate pages for Pre-1000s, 1000s, 1100s, 1200s, 1300s, 1400s, 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and 2000s. The Story of London is more general, but includes some local points, such as the first Portland Cement factory in London being in Rotherhithe, established by William Aspdin in 1841 and used in the Thames Tunnel. The Rotherhithe and Bermondsey Local History Group meets regularly.

Religion  (return to contents)

The star of Rotherhithe's Churches is St Mary, following a high but relaxed Anglican tradition, and part of the Diocese of Southwark . Capitain Christopher Jones of the Mayflower is buried in the grounds, and there is a memorial stone to Prince Lee Boo of the Pelew Islands (now the Republic of Palau or Belau - north of New Guinea) inside the Church. While the site claims a legacy of Christian worship of over 1000 years (and the crypt and foundations provide some evidence of first millennium origens), the current building dates from the early 18th century. The ceiling looks like an upturned boat, while the pillars look like stone, but are in fact wood (like ships' masts) with plaster. The Docklands (bell) Ringing Centre has a short history of St Mary's Church.

Holy Trinity in Downtown is the other local Church of England church, a post war building after the earlier church was destroyed in the Blitz. St Katharine with St Bartholomew is right at the south western corner of Rotherhithe. Rotherhithe is also the base for the General Secretary of the Church of England Guild of Vergers

For those wanting a Protestant non-CofE church, the Rotherhithe Evangelical Free Church is in Lower Road; an alternative is the Surrey Quays Christian Fellowship.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic church in the centre of the redeveloped docks, while St Peter and the Guardian Angels may be more convenient for those in the north west.

There are four Nordic Lutheran churches in Rotherhithe: St Olaf's is the Norwegian Church and Seaman's Mission ( Norske Sjømannskirke ) in London (co-incidentally sharing the same name as the former St Olave's Hospital and Workhouse which used to be in Lower Road); also in Albion Street is the Finnish Church (Lontoon Suomen Merimieskirkko) in London (wouldn't it be nice if they called it St Henry's after the Englishman who was patron saint of Finland until the reformation). They also provide a cultural and social focus (the Finnish Church has a sauna). While the main Swedish Church is elsewhere in London, the Swedish Seaman's Mission (Svenska Sjömanskyrkan) is in Lower Road and has cheap accomodation. Similarly, the main Danish Church is elsewhere, but the Danish Seaman's Church is in Rope Street just south of Greenland Dock. The Danes and Norwegians probably have the longest historical connection with the area - it is suggested that Canute (Knut) built a canal from Rotherhithe to Waterloo so as to be able to attack London from the west without passing under London Bridge, while Olave (a.k.a. Olav, Olaf or Tooley) may have helped defend London from Canute's father.

Sport  (return to contents)

If you want to play yourself, the leisure section may help.

Local football (soccer to North Americans) is represented by Fisher Athletic with its Surrey Docks Stadium in Salter Road.  Currently in the Dr Marten's League Eastern Division (after being champions of the Eastern Division in 1999-2000 and relegated back the following year), they would only need to be promoted six times to reach the Premiership.  For those looking for League football clubs, Millwall is the closest and is in SE16 (though just across the borough border in Deptford in Lewisham, with Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Crystal Palace nearby.

First class (Surrey CCC) and international cricket takes place at the Oval in nearby Kennington.

The London Marathon passes through Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe at miles 9 and 10 and kilometre 15 shortly before Tower Bridge. The London Hash Harriers (a running club) based its 25th birthday hash in Rotherhithe on 11-13 May 2001.

A British American Football club, the London O's, play in Southwark Park, and were British champions in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Housing  (return to contents)

There is a wide mixture of owner occupied house and flats, a developing private rented sector, and public housing. In the new developments, prices are typically higher than many other parts of South London, but lower than much of the rest of Docklands. River and dock views carry a heavy premium. The New Statesman carried some opinion on local housing in 1998, while the Evening Standard carried estate agents' promotion for the area as well as some SE16 prices from the mid 1990s.

Estate Agents in the area include: Winkworth and Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward in the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre; Alex Neil , Burnet Ware & Graves, Oliver Jaques, Oppida and Burwood Marh in Lower Road. Find a property has some internet listings for SE16.

Southwark Council is the local housing authority. The are also housing associations, including the South London Family Housing Association based at the Dock Offices in Surrey Quays Road. There is also sheltered housing such as the Abbeyfield Rotherhithe Society next to Surrey Water.

Personal Sites  (return to contents)

Helena Koutna  Miranda Diboll Malcolm Smith 
Matthew & Jenny Clement  Henry Bottomley  Gerry Duff 
Andrew's Tower Block  Steve Gillham Nigel Francois 
Claire Minh Lanh Gillham Richard Wood Elisabeth & Angus Walker 
Stephen & Kara Bonita Newby  Matthew Rhys-Roberts 
Andrea Byrnes Sandy Adirondack  Gustaaf Houtman
Fiona Colley John Woolvett  

Cultural references (return to contents)

In the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies , Harmsworth Quays Printers was used as the scene for Carver's print works.

Gulliver's wife in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, lived in Redriff (written "Rotherhith" once) and he too lived there between voyages and to record his memoirs. Four roads almost remember this: Lagado Mews named after the city beneath the floating island of Laputa; Leydon Close as a misspelling of Leyden where Gulliver studied medicine; Dean Close to recall Swift's position in the Church of Ireland; and Smith Close as a gross misrendering of Swift.

In T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats , in Growltiger's Last Stand Eliot suggests that the cottagers of Rotherhithe knew something of this rough cat's fame, though some of the words may since have taken an unintended extra meaning.

The swelling murmurs grew, from Rotherhithe to Kew, against W. S. Gilbert's Peter the Wag, a policeman with a slightly odd sense of humour and duty.

Sherlock Holmes, in the Case of the Dying Dectective , had been investigating a case in Rotherhithe before getting sick. Or had he?

In Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist , Fagin meets his end at Jacob's Island, "near where Rotherhithe Church abuts the Thames". In Our Mutual Friend, Mortimer Lightwood and Eugene Wrayburn go "by Rotherhithe; down by where accumulated scum of humanity seemed to be washed from higher grounds, like so much moral sewage, and to be pausing until its own weight forced it over the bank and sunk it in the river" to find a body taken from the Thames.

H.W. Longfellow in The Theologian's Tale compared the sight of masts and sails on the Thames seen from Rotherhithe Street with the pines and patches of snow on their branches of the Delaware River.

In Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out the ferryman recalls when his boat carried delicate feet across to lawns at Rotherhithe.

J.M.W. Turner's The Fighting "Temeraire" tugged to her last berth to be broken up  painted in 1838 shows this hero of the Nile and Trafalgar on its way to Rotherhithe. A Bishop's Chair in St Mary's Church is made from timbers of the Temeraire.

Both James McNeill Whistler  and W J Cooper produced etchings of Rotherhithe.

The Greenwich artist Terry Scales grew up in Rotherhithe and has painted Thames Barges at Rotherhithe as well as many other Thames pictures.

Armin Redinger paints with metal, and includes the Rotherhithe Tunnel among his works.

The Bermondsey Artists Group organises the Cafe Gallery in Southwark Park and also in Dilston Grove.

The 18th century painter Samuel Scott painted A Morning, with a View of Cuckold's Point which is now in the Tate's collection, which also has a painting called Rotherhithe by the 20th century painter Keith Vaughan.

Cuckold's Point is said in Brewer's Phrase and Fable to be where King John made love to someone else's wife. It was marked by horns on the river wall, and was a noted and popular landmark for many centuries.

"I wanna tell you a story" Max Bygraves was born in Rotherhithe on 16 October 1922 as Walter William Bygraves.

"Not a lot of people knew that" Michael Caine was born in Rotherhithe on 14 March 1933 as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite.

Princess Margaret was courted by the photographer Tony Armstrong-Jones (later Lord Snowdon) in a warehouse in Rotherhithe before the announcement of their engagement and their marriage in 1960.

Guy Fawkes may have bought the gunpowder for the Gunpowder Plot from the powder mill in Rotherhithe, surplus stock after the end of the Anglo-Spanish war.

Rotherhithe had the last case of the Great Plague in 1679 - it hit London mainly in 1665.

In 1870, Professor Thomas Henry Huxley (Charles Darwin's propagandist and grandfather of the Brave New World writer Aldous) wrote of his wonder that the poor of Rotherhithe did not sally forth and plunder.

Henry Fielding (author of Tom Jones) wrote copiously of his enforced stay in Rotherhithe in his posthumously published Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, where he died shortly after arriving in 1754.

In Herman Melville's story Moby Dick, he sets out his belief that whalers have a undeserved reputation for foul smells due to the transport practices of 18th century northern ships delivering to Greenland Dock.

Mr and Mrs Peacham, the fences in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, kept a warehouse in Redriff, from which they sold stolen goods to sailors.

Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders spent much of her early career as a prostitute in Redriff.

Apparently "Surrey Docks" is Cockney rhyming slang for "pox".

Samuel Pepys recorded in his diaries his several walks to Redriffe from Deptford in 1664 to 1666, including 1089 people dying there from the plague in the week of 20 July 1665.

Hotels (return to contents)

There is a real (if limited) choice for short-term places to stay, between the up-market Hilton London Docklands (formerly the Holiday Inn Nelson's Dock, and before that the Scandic Crown) and the Rotherhithe Youth Hostel. A future possibility might have been at Canada Water, near the exits of the new Jubilee Line station, although the council now has grander plans.

Local Groups (return to contents)

Time and Talents  Labour Party 
Southwark Heritage Association  Southwark Cyclists 
Southwark Information Centre Quay Players 
Rotherhithe Consolidated Charities  Bede House
Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Development Partnership
Rotherhithe and Bermondsey Local History Group
Rotherhithe Millennium Group Pumphouse Educational Museum
Save Dilston Grove Brunel Engine House
Canada Water Campaign Brunswick Quay Residents Association

Newspapers (return to contents)

Three newspapers cover the area: Southwark News (Thursdays) and its free sister Southwark Weekender, and the South London Press(Tuesdays and Fridays). There are the London-wide newspapers Evening Standard (its free edition London Lite) and Metro which are both printed in Rotherhithe at Harmsworth Quays together with the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday; there is also thelondonpaper. The Mail and other UK national newspapers (e.g. the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, the Sun and the Daily Star, and Sunday papers such as the Observer and the News of the World) only cover stories when of sufficient national interest. There are also London listings magazines, such as Time Outand What's On in London.  Docklands News, Docklands Magazine and Meridian Line can also cover the area.

Neighbours  (return to contents)

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