22 January 2011

Walking Club Inaugural Outing

The inaugural walk of the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies' Walking Club will take place on Saturday, 5 February 2011.

Leaving Sydenham Station by Network Rail at 10.24 am (Forest Hill Station at 10.27 am, Honor Oak Park at 10.29 am), the walk will be led by Andrea Bradbury and Pat Trembath. We will follow (and divert from) the northern Thames Path between London Bridge and Canary Wharf, taking in various places of interest over a distance of about 5 miles and at a medium pace. We will return by London Overground from Canary Wharf.

As this is our first walk we thought that it would be nice to end in sociable style with lunch at the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill at approximately 1.15pm. By finishing on home territory with lunch we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get to know everyone else.

Those who come on the 5 February walk should indicate at the start of the walk if they want to be included in the lunch so we can phone ahead to reserve tables at the Dartmouth Arms. If you have any queries, or would like a reminder, please contact Andrea or Pat by email who will send a reminder, together with mobile numbers (for use on the day only) to the walking group at the beginning of February.

Please Note: there are no toilets on the walk after London Bridge(apart from pubs in an emergency). Toilets on platforms 1 and 3 at London Bridge are usually clean and free.

Sights you will see

The walk mainly follows the Thames path from the north side of
London Bridge to Canary Wharf. Places of interest along the route are:

Old Billingsgate fish market

The Tower of London

St Katherine's Dock — opened in 1828 specialised in tea, rubber, wool, marble, sugar, tallow and ivory. It closed in the 1960’s.

Wapping High Street — a street built in about 1570 to link the quays in the city to the storage warehouses.

The London Docks — built 1799—1815. The Western and Eastern docks were linked by Tobacco Dock. Specialised in ivory, spices, coffee, cocoa, wine and wool. Closed in 1969, they were sold to Tower Hamlets to turn into public housing. Was derelict until London Dockland Development Corporation built 1,000 properties. “Fortress Wapping” Rupert Murdoch’s printing works were built on the Western docks.

Turner’s Old Star pub. The painter Joseph Turner, who drew inspiration from the Thames and Docklands throughout his life never married, but women were always important to him and he had four children with a number of mistresses. In 1834 he met Sophia Booth, a widowed landlady from Margate. When Turner inherited two cottages in Docklands he set Sophia up as a landlady in one of them. Her pub was known as the Old Star. The same pub survives today, as Turner's Old Star.

Wapping Pier Head. A double row of Georgian houses facing each other built for officials of the dock company.

Town of Ramsgate pub - is an old, narrow building next to one of the first warehouses to be converted into apartments (well before the 80's property boom) and backs onto the Thames where it has a small terrace with a limited view of the river. There are all sorts of historical claims made about the place (eg Judge Jeffreys was captured here attempting to flee to the continent and the crew of HMS Bounty took their last drink here before setting sail).

Wapping's former 18th century charity school

Headquarters of the River police.

Wapping Overground station at the end of Brunel’s Tunnel under the Thames completed in 1843—it took 20 years.

Prospect of Whitby pub lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520. In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of "Hanging" Judge Jeffreys as well as writers Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys. Views from the pub were sketched by both Turner and Whistler. The pub also features briefly in an episode of Only Fools And Horses.

The London Hydraulic Power Company’s pumping station—1893-1977 supplied hydraulic power for cranes and lifts for the wharves of docklands and for theatres and office buildings as far away as Earls Court. After its closure as a pumping station in 1977, the building was converted and reopened as an arts centre.

Rotherhithe tunnel ventilation shaft — next to this is a tablet commemorating Elizabethan navigators who sailed from the Thames to find the North West passage.

Narrow Street — old link between Shadwell and Limehouse is home to a Gordon Ramsey pub — the Narrows.

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