Posted: Tuesday 04 January 2011
South East Associates
Walk on the South Bank
- Thursday 9th December -
Ten Associates met at Tower Hill tube station on a beautiful sunny day that was above freezing! Rounding the Tower of London we paused at the Traitors Gate on the Thames where so many went into the Tower to meet their death.
We crossed Tower Bridge from where we could see The Shard being built.
The central column is already the tallest building in London and will be even taller when the building is complete.
Just over the bridge we turned left on the South Bank behind Butlers Wharf which was the biggest wharf complex on the river and is now posh riverside restaurants. We entered the first coffee shop to warm up a little.
I was just about to ring a missing 11th person when he appeared. He had walked the South Bank from Waterloo and crossed the bridge back and forth looking for us, thus adding nearly four miles to the walk before he even started.
After coffee we headed into Shad Thames, a street criss-crossed with iron bridges very reminiscent of Charles Dickens' times.
We turned off to walk the river bank where there were huge anchors and other sculptures displayed. Then crossed St. Saviours Docks, a muddy inlet lined with warehouses, with cranes still hanging on the walls. This could easily have been where Bill Sykes from "Oliver Twist" met his death.
The footbridge leads to Concordia Wharf - once a flour mill.
Further along the river bank was another sculpture, Dr. Salter, a local benefactor from the 1920s, and Edward III's moated manor house. You can still see the shape of the moat and part of the walls.
Next we reached St Mary's church, rebuilt around 1747 with ships timbers used for the interior. The church had links with the Mayflower and the master, Christopher Jones, is buried there. Opposite the church is the 17th century Mayflower pub which claims to stand on the site of the old Shippe Inn from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in 1620.
Further along on Cumberland Wharf stands a statue of a Pilgrim Father looking over the shoulder of a 1930's boy reading a newspaper about the Mayflower and all the changes on the riverbank since.
Across the river you can see Canary Wharf. We had a very good lunch in the Salt Quay overlooking the Thames. We continued along Rotherhithe Street past new building works and the Holiday Inn complex.
When we rejoined the river we came upon the Surrey Docks farm, a nice surprise in the middle of London. It was still snowy but the animals seemed pleased to see us, no doubt they thought we had brought lunch but no such luck.
||The duck pond was full of lumps of ice.
Presumably staff had tried
to break it up so the birds
could have a paddle
but they seem more content
on the banks.
Outside the farm there were
more sculptures of the animals
we had just seen.
We came to Greenland Dock which is still a sizeable stretch of water.
Here we terminated the walk as there is so much building going on in Deptford.
We caught a Thames Clipper - a commuter boat - and winged our way in the warmth of the boat back down the Thames past all the sights we had just seen, and many more as we neared the London Eye.
Despite all the student riots in nearby Westminster we thankfully didn't see any of it and caught our respective trains from Waterloo back to our homes.
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