Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour in Rotherhithe


A nice account by blogger "the Scribblaire" of a walking tour of Rotherhithe, with photographs.

It was a beautiful Autumn day in London yesterday, with watery sunshine and a slight chill in the air.  A perfect day for walking.  The Scribblaire’s other half had arranged for a trip to somewhere in London that we had never visited.   I had thought that it might be to a church in The City that he had discovered recently, but I was wrong.

We boarded the train to Waterloo station and, on arrival, headed for the eastbound Jubilee line.  Once above ground at Canada Water I was shown a sign pointing to the Brunel Museum and told that this was our destination. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

RM22/78 Rotherhithe (map) Bomb Damage

A fascinating map of the Surrey Commercial Docks on Yersinia's Flickr site, which was picked up by Google Alerts. Click to see the bigger image.  The link no longer works, sadly, but the map is still interesting.

Key (provided by Yersinia):
Black - Total destruction
Purple - Damage beyond repair
Dark Red - Seriously damaged, doubtful if repairable
Light Red - Seriously damaged, repairable at cost
Orange - General blast damage, minor in nature
Yellow - Blast damage, minor in nature
Green - Clearance areas
Small circle - V2 Bomb
Large circle - V1 bomb

Squat Property - Rotherhithe 1983

The Times Live, za (Ben Trovato)

A fascinating if somewhat bleak and disturbing look into another way of life in Rotherhithe 20 years ago. Unfortunately the link is now dead, and I've been unable to find a copy anywhere else.  So this is a snapshot of an article that appeared on The Times Live, ZA.  It was an interesting enough snapshot of Rotherhithe before the LDDC redevelopment of the area to be worth publishing here, even as a fragment.

The author, Ben Trovato, used to live in a squat in Rotherhithe and paints a portrait of what the area was like back then. He then went on to make some interesting observations on what he found in Rotherhithe today.

We’ve already picked out a ground-floor flat. Sticking to the shadows, we reach the door and go to work on the lock. It takes three minutes for the hacksaw blade to snap. The crowbar is no help. Nor are the screwdrivers. This leaves the sledge hammer. I pick it up with both hands and am about to deliver a death blow when a police siren cuts through the fog. We grab the tools and make it to the stairwell just as a sleek, white Rover veers into the estate. Cops pile out of it and begin searching an area 50m from us. They leave. We exhale. Ten minutes later, the lock shatters and the artist uses his Doc Marten boot to open the door. We replace the lock and become the legal occupants. Vote Labour.
It seems too good to be true. A clean three-bedroom flat with a view of the Thames for which no rent will ever be paid or demanded. Sure, there is no electricity, gas or hot water, but we can’t exactly complain to the council. After weeks of living by candlelight, which doubles as our central heating, we meet a gentleman who shows us how to bypass the meter for the price of a bottle of rum.
Rotherhithe is a rough area, no doubt about it. There are half a dozen heroin dealers living within a five minute walk of one another. Some squatters have their cars set alight at night. Punks, skinheads and anarchists share an uneasy existence alongside angry, rent-paying Cockneys. These legitimate tenants hate us for living in flats identical to theirs, but for free. I come home one night to find “Squatters Will Die” spray- painted across the door.

The Rotherhithe of Geoff Howard


From the forward to Rotherhithe Photographs, 1971-80 by Geoff Howard:
Ship and Whale, Rotherhithe.
© Geoff Howard 1975
Rotherhithe was a riverside village to the east of London in medieval times, but the real development of the area started with the major dock building in the first half of the 19th century; these docks were amalgamated into the Surrey Commercial Docks in 1864. Surrey Docks are only a part of Rotherhithe, but people tended to use the two names almost interchangeably. Surrey Docks underground station is at the south end of the docks; Rotherhithe Street itself follows the bend of the river Thames around the north side of the docks. Rotherhithe Street – the longest street on London – or was it in England – bordered by high walls hiding the docks, with just occasional gaps at a gate or bridge, with glimpses of water or warehouses, and like all the surrounding streets mostly deserted, a ghostly, uninhabited feeling, broken by small estates of council flats, a few pubs, some newsagents or little corner shops. The river on the other side of the road, often just a few steps down to the water.

While these photographs date from 1971 to 1980, the majority were taken between 1973 and 1975. It was the time after the closure of the docks in 1969 but before the complete redevelopment of the whole London docklands area, north and south of the river Thames, during the 1980s.

Great London history blog: HistoryLondon

A blog by Julian Woodford ("Transmitting gobbets of London's past for the edification of the world," whose book The Boss of Bethnal Green: Joseph Merceron, Godfather of Regency London will be published soon. I've been following it on Twitter: @HistoryLondon.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

London Blitz, day 1, September 7th 1940

The Guardian

From The Guardian website, above:
Using Google Fusion tables, we've produced this map of the first day's bombing. Click on a red dot to get details -once it's loaded