The Hangman’s noose on the side of the Thames London, by the Prospect of Whitby public house.

Shadwell & Limehouse London 30th January 2016

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Another great trip to London again visiting the Shadwell & limehouse areas, first we visited the Annie Lebernitz photography exhibition at the Wapping hydraulic power station, a project called women that's been many years in the making. Her pictures are always stunning and the venue was very atmospheric, after this we made our way to Shadwell. Shadwell is a district in East London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and located on the north bank of the Thames between Wapping and Ratcliff. It is located 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Charing Cross and forms part of the East End of London.
The main part of the trip was a photography exhibition by Leibovitz, this was showing at the Wapping Hydraulic power station a building built in 1890 and decommissioned around 1977. Annie Leibovitz photographs have won many awards and admirers from first appearing in Rolling stone magazine in the 1970. The new portraits are from a a collection called Women and she started the project over 15 years ago, if you get the chance its well worth a look.

Further reading:

Its a nice walk along the Thames from Wapping dock up towards Shadwell, and the basin that was once surrounded by Wharfs which is now full of smart flats. The London Docks expanded eastward in the 1830s with the opening of the Eastern Dock and Shadwell Basin (built 1828–32). To provide these new docks with access to the river, a new entrance at Shadwell was built. Opened in 1832, it was named Shadwell Entrance (the main entrance to the London Dock was through Wapping Entrance with a third entrance at Hermitage Basin).

From the Basin we headed onto Cable street where in 1936 Oswald Mosley, and various anti-fascist demonstrators, including local Jewish, socialist, anarchist and communist groups clashed. Mosley planned to send thousands of marchers dressed in uniforms styled on those of Blackshirts through the East End, which then had a large Jewish population. After this we headed into Limehouse where the Thames meets the Regents Canal and again headed along the Thames path. Along the path you will soon find a huge round building called the Rotherhithe tunnel cupolas, these were ventilation shafts (one of 4) that took air into the Rotherhithe tunnel that goes under the Thames built 1904-1908.

On the way back we decided to stop off at the Prospect of Whitby public house, the oldest Thames waterside drinking den dating from around 1520. The tavern was formerly known as The Pelican and later as the Devil’s Tavern, on account of its dubious reputation. All that remains from the building’s earliest period is the 400-year-old stone floor. In former times it was a meeting place for sailors, smugglers, cut-throats and footpads. Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from here in 1553 in a disastrous attempt to discover the North-East Passage to China. In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of "Hanging" Judge Jeffreys, scourge of the Monmouth Rebellion, and outside down by the Thames you can find the Gibbet & Noose where he used to hang the condemned . Its a nice pub and does food as well, it is very popular with locals and tourists and is very atmospheric, we would like to go back and have a few pints in the summer (good real ale pub.)

Wapping Rail Station .
The area is rich in old history and indeed the site of the new modern station at Wapping has its history as it is the site of the oldest tunnel under the Thames - The Thames Tunnel. The Thames Tunnel is an underwater tunnel, built beneath the River Thames in London, connecting Rotherhithe and Wapping. It measures 35 feet (11 m) wide by 20 feet (6 m) high and is 1,300 feet (396 m) long, running at a depth of 75 feet (23 m) below the river surface measured at high tide. It was the first tunnel known to have been constructed successfully underneath a navigable river,[1] and was built between 1825 and 1843 using Marc Isambard Brunel's and Thomas Cochrane's newly invented tunnelling shield technology, by Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


Looking down the Shadwell Basin