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A Riverside Walk In the Eighties

January 9, 2024
by the gentle author

David Rees sent me these photographs that he took in the streets within walking distance on either side of the Thames when he worked at Tower Hill in the eighties.

Cathedral St, SE1

“I took these photos when I was working at Trinity House in the early eighties just before the ‘regeneration’ of the London Docks. Crossing the river, it was five minutes’ walk to Shad Thames and ten minutes’ walk to the Liberty of the Clink. Walking east, it was ten minutes via St. Katharine Docks to Wapping where the streets smelt of cinnamon and mace on late summer evenings.” – David Rees

Winchester Sq

Borough Market

Borough Market

Borough Market

Rochester Walk

Nelson’s Wharf from Old Barge House Stairs

Anchor Brewery

Clink St

Mill St

Hays Wharf

Weston St

Church of the English Martyrs seen from Chamber St

Longfellow Rd Mission

Essex Wharf

Holland St

Wapping Old Stairs

Queen Elizabeth St

Billingsgate Market

Chambers Wharf

Crown Wharf

Green Dragon St

Free Trade Wharf

Oliver’s Wharf

Oxo Tower

St Benet’s Wharf

Photographs copyright © David Rees

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Georgina Briody permalink
    January 9, 2024

    A little different today. Growing up near Tower Bridge, leaving and returning, I saw the decline of the docks and then the regeneration of the river. I miss the aromas of the area ie the spices, the baking of biscuits twice a week..what memories.

    I now enjoy my walks along the river especially Wapping.

  2. Richard Cleaver permalink
    January 9, 2024

    Marvellously atmospheric. I remember walks around the dockland areas when a student at North East London Poly in Stratford in 1982/3 and marvelling at the architecture and the growing signs of decline even then. That said, the occupants of Holland St car park were clearly still doing ok thank you very much.

  3. Greg T permalink
    January 9, 2024

    Borough Market – before it became fashionable …
    It was like stepping into the set of “My Fair Lady, except it was real.
    And – not shown – Cardinal Cap Alley before the Globe or Tate Bankside.

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 9, 2024

    Very atmospheric photos. They remind me of one of my most memorable evenings which was going on a pub crawl along the Thames in Southwark just before it was all redeveloped. It was all still very Dickensian, especially around the Clink Street area.

  5. Mark permalink
    January 9, 2024

    Great pics of the London I knew and loved.
    A wondrous time, excluding Thatcher and her mob, to explore this lovely, dodgy place.
    Before the middle classes with their ‘artisan skills’ moved in and ruined it for everybody else.
    You’ll thank me one day. X

  6. Victoria Cooper permalink
    January 9, 2024

    Great record of the not so long ago past. But a decade is a long time in London, let alone four of them. Makes me feel old, the eighties seem to me quite recent.

  7. Becky permalink
    January 9, 2024

    Amazing photos thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Robbie P permalink
    January 10, 2024

    Fascinating to see the area just before redevelopment – which, on the whole, has been a good thing but I also kind of miss the creaking atmosphere of decay. Are there any non-restored Victorian era buildings in London left where that remains? Other than where it has been deliberately retained, like Wilton’s Music Hall. By the way, a small correction – the brewery To Let is Courage’s Anchor Brewhouse, unrelated to the Anchor Brewery then nearby in Park Street. To add to the confusion, they both had brewery taps called The Anchor. The Park Street brewery buildings were completely demolished I think, but both pubs are still going.

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