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The Map Of Rotherhithe

June 25, 2018
by the gentle author

You are invited to join me at the launch parties celebrating publication of Adam Dant’s MAPS OF LONDON & BEYOND, in the West End at The Map House in Knightsbrige this Thursday 28th June and in the East End at The Townhouse in Spitalfields next Thursday 5th July. Meanwhile you can catch Adam at Stanfords in Covent Garden tomorrow giving an illustrated lecture about his maps.


TUESDAY 26th JUNE 6:30pm: Lecture at STANFORDS, 12-14 Long Acre, WC2. Click here to book

29th JUNE – 14th JULY: Exhibition of Maps of London at THE MAP HOUSE, 54 Beauchamp Place, SW3. Opening sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin on Thursday 28th June 6 – 8:30pm

5th – 22nd JULY: Exhibition of Maps of the East End at THE TOWN HOUSE, 5 Fournier St, E1. Opening Thursday 5th July 6 – 8.30pm


Click here to order a signed copy



Undertaking a rare trip south of the river, Adam Dant presents these maps of that fabled ‘terra incognita’ once known as Redriff.

1. (Twelfth century) The name of the village of Rotherhithe or “Rederheia” is thought to mean “cattle-landing place.”

2. (1016) King Cnut begins digging a trench from Rotherhithe to Vauxhall to lay seige to London, according to myth.

3. (c.1370) During the reign of Edward III a fleet is fitted out at Rotherhithe by order of the Black Prince and John of Gaunt.

4. (c.1400) Henry IV lives in an old stone house in Rotherhithe while suffering from leprosy.

5. (1485) The Lovell family, owners of the Manor at Rotherhithe distinguish themselves during the Wars of the Roses. Francis Lovell is made Lord Chamberlain – “The cat, the rat and Lovell the dog rule all England under a hog.”

6. (1587) The Queen grants Thomas Brickett “Le Gone Powder Mill Pond,” formerly possession of Bermondsey Abbey and source of Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder.

7. (1605) Shipwrights of England are incorporated under Royal Charter, so that ships “will not be made slenderlie and deceitfullie.”

8. (1620) The Mayflower is brought to Rotherhithe by its master Christopher Jones.

9. (1635) Reclaimed land and “inclosed” wharfs are claimed by poor tenants over preference to kings, lords and rich men.

10. (1684) Christopher Monck, Duke of Albemarle receives a grant for Saturday goods and merchandise market, and for a ferry at Rotherhithe.

11. (1699) John Evelyn records in his diary, “a dreadful fire destroying three hundred houses and divers ships.”

12. ( 1699) 18th October, revellers en route to the The Charlton Horn Fair disembark at Cuckold’s Point, marked by a tall pole topped by a pair of horns.

13. (1770) The St Helena Tea Gardens open in Deptford where evening music and dancing is supported by the lower classes and shipyard workers’ families.

14. (1725) The South Sea Company take the lease of the The Howland Great Wet Dock and plan unsuccessfully to revive fishing in Greenland. The dock is renamed Greenland Dock.

15.  (1725) One thousand tons of “unfragrant” whale blubber are boiled and processed annually at Greenland Dock.

16. (1726) Lemuel Gulliver,  Jonathan Swift’s sailor protagonist in “Gulliver’s Travels” is born at Redriff.

17. (1792) Eleven shipyards are recorded in the parish of Rotherhithe.

18. (1680) Charles II makes a “frolicksome excursion” to Rotherhithe.

19. (1777) The China Hall, previously “The Cock & Pye,” opens as a theatre with plays “The Wonder,” “Love in a Village,” “The Comical Courtship” and “The Lying Valet,” before burning down in 1778.

20. (1725) A nurseryman named Warner cultivates cuttings of Burgundy vines in the vicinity of Rotherhithe. He is – in time – rewarded with one hundred gallons of wine annually.

21. (1792) Forty acres of the parish are occupied by market gardeners famous for their produce, four hundred and seventy acres by pasture.

22. (1802) Work begins on Ralph Dodd’s ship canal, “The Grand Surrey Canal.”

23. (1809) The decline in the whaling trade and the increase in timber importing accounts for Greenland Dock being named “Baltic Dock,” later enlarged and reopened as “The Commercial Dock.”

24. (1825-42) The Thames Tunnel is bored by Sir Marc Brunel.

25. (1832) Raw materials such as hemp, iron, tar and corn from many Baltic countries, as well as timber, arrive at Surrey & Commercial Docks.

26.(1869) Rotherhithe Underground Station is opened to Wapping.

27. (1869) Dockers strike in Surrey Dicks for “the Dockers’ Tanner” a rate of sixpence an hour. The strike drew public attention to issues of poverty in Victorian London.

28. (1830) Ship breaking begins to take over from ship building in Rotherhithe with many ships built to fight in the Napoleonic Wars meeting their end.

29. (1850) Charles Lungley builds The Dane at Greenland Dock North Shipyard chartered by the French Government as transport during the Crimean War.

30. (1909) Surey Docks is taken over and reinvigorated by the newly formed Port of London Authority.

31. (1926) Only seven people arrive for work out of two thousand on the first day of the General Strike.

32. (1940) September 7th, Surrey Docks are set on fire in the first raid of the Blitz.

33. (1940) King Haakon VII, with the Norwegian government in exile and Norwegian resistance during World War II,  came to worship at St Olav’s.

34.( 1940s) Dock workers play “The down the slot game” in social clubs such as “The Gordon Club.”

35. (1900-1950) Cunard white star liners trade from Greenland Dock to Canada and North America.

36. (1960) Princess Margaret meets her future husband, photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, in Rotherhithe.

37. (1970) Surrey Docks close.

38. (19810 Michael Heseltine, Secretary of State, forms “The Docklands Development Corporation” to redevelop the area of the former docks. It causes controversy, accused of favouring luxury developments over affordable housing.

39. (2000) Mudlarking on the foreshore yields clay pipes, oyster shells and the occasional Saxon or Roman coin.

40.( 2011) The new “super library” opens in Canada Water.





Adam Dant’s MAPS OF LONDON & BEYOND is a mighty monograph collecting together all your favourite works by Spitalfields Life‘s cartographer extraordinaire in a beautiful big hardback book.

Including a map of London riots, the locations of early coffee houses and a colourful depiction of slang through the centuries, Adam Dant’s vision of city life and our prevailing obsessions with money, power and the pursuit of pleasure may genuinely be described as ‘Hogarthian.’

Unparalleled in his draughtsmanship and inventiveness, Adam Dant explores the byways of English cultural history in his ingenious drawings, annotated with erudite commentary and offering hours of fascination for the curious.

The book includes an extensive interview with Adam Dant by The Gentle Author.

Adam Dant’s  limited edition prints are available to purchase through TAG Fine Arts

6 Responses leave one →
  1. June 25, 2018

    This is an absolutely fascinating book. The detail in it is quite extraordinary. There is history on every page along with a exquisite details. I highly recommend it to your other readers.

  2. Georgina Briody permalink
    June 25, 2018

    As one who grew up around this area and who often returns to reminisce , found this fascinating.

  3. June 25, 2018

    There is a kind of excitement in stepping into the past. Not everyone is perhaps lucky enough to be aware of what lingers all around them. Thanks for the guided tour of Rotherhithe.

  4. Jenni Buhr permalink
    June 25, 2018

    My pre-ordered copy of Adam Dant’s book arrived last week, and it is even better than I could have imagined both in its art and its historical references. I will be reading it for years to absorb every bit. Thank you for making this wonderful book available to all of us who love Dant’s work in a bound collection.

  5. julia harrison permalink
    June 25, 2018

    Thank you so much for the invitation. I would really love to celebrate the publication of this wonderful book with you,

  6. June 26, 2018

    My volume arrived yesterday, and it is FAR beyond my already-high expectations. The dimensions of the book are an apt reminder of long-ago atlases. A beautiful, inventive, totally-unique book – I love having this in my art library.

    Many thanks to GA for shining your spotlight on Adam Dant’s special talents.

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