• Will Cutteridge

Ye Old Docklands...

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

Good morning subscribers, my sincere apologies for the delay on releasing this blog. It’s all ramping up here at Zeroo with the fast approaching launch of Wapping Docklands Market! ‘Ye Old Docklands...’ This weeks blog takes us on a shallow dive into the rich history of Wapping and the East End of London. But of course, before we begin remember to follow our social media and subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with all the latest news here at Zeroo. Links to both can be found at the bottom of this page. Without any further ado, please find our latest blog belew!

This weeks blog is starting with a 5 minute YouTube clip to set the scene:

Beer at 4 pence a pint...? Yes please. At various points during the clip Heron eludes to the famous old market stands leading all the way up to the Commercial Road, ‘penny a pound pears’. Not bad value in todays terms.

Local communities sit right at the heart of food markets, and so it's been for century’s, ‘it was a shopping expedition but also a social expedition’ Heron mentions in his clip. Wapping Docklands Market will be hosting 40 traders, each with unique and interesting stories to tell you about their small business. I believe with this we can start to structure our shopping experience into a more social and interactive ‘expedition’ as well.

Coupled with the above, let’s celebrate Wapping’s rich history and cultural architecture. Much of it was destroyed during the war but there are still many buildings and sites still standing today. Let’s start with the complex network of waterways.

Shadwell basin was the last waterway constructed into the Wapping area in 1828, completing the complex started in the West Docks which is now a smart housing development hosting the Ornamental Canal (and many species of birds!). A map of these old docks can be found below:

Moving onto something more structural, the archaic and almost medieval character of Bascule Bridge is an industrious reminder of times gone before us. Shown in the blogs head photo from 1951, you can see it still boasting it’s former operational attachments. It was simply constructed to connect the land either side of the inner basin easing the logistical operations of the dockyards closer to the river. It was assembled and erected back in the 1930s before a full restoration 50 years later ‘to reel the story of the Docklands...’.

There are few surviving industrial buildings in the Docklands, but certainly one of the most impressive is Wapping Hydraulic Pumping Station. ‘A construction that preserves and interprets the areas character and cultural history’. It was the last hydraulic pumping station operating in London and it’s now used for pop-up restaurants, art galleries and film sets; Peaky Blinders sort of stuff I would imagine.

All these hard working East-End dockers were famous for their capacity for alcohol, and fortunately the oldest riverside pub in London (constructed in 1520) had all the facilities they could possibly wish for. I’ll let your mind wonder on that one rather than go into too many details, but I believe the side alley named Pelican Stairs has a few mythical, and some perhaps not so mythical, tales.

Thanks for reading our latest blog. We hope you will join us in April to start revitalising the history of the East End and the London Docklands. Remember to follow our social media and subscribe to our mailing list, all of which can be found at the bottom of this page. We’ll see you by the big red bridge on the water very soon!

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