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24 September 2014

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You are in: London > Coast > A Thames Tour of Rotherhithe

Canary Wharf

View across to Canary Wharf

A Thames Tour of Rotherhithe

The walk continues towards the River Thames where you follow the Thames Path taking in the views across to Westferry and Canary Wharf.

Did you know

  • The earliest shipyard in Rotherhithe was known to operate in 1746.
  • Rotherhithe Street is the longest street in London
  • The horses for the old fire station were hired at a cost of £69
  • The ship Carcass was built in Rotherhithe and Horatio Nelson served on it in 1773
  • The area around this end of Rotherhithe Street was known as Downtown
  • Nelson Dock is the only dry dock left in London and was known as Cuckolds Point in the 17th and 18th century's

A crane by Odessa Street

You have to turn left into Randall’s Rents and right into Odessa Street, once home to some of Rotherhithe’s shipyards and granaries. You will pass modern residential apartments before rejoining the Thames Path by the red crane. On the Thames Path, before you reach the animal statues, you will need to cut through Wyatt Close and Vaughan Street before turning right onto Rotherhithe Street.

You follow Rotherhithe Street bearing right where you will see Trinity Halls and Church, built in 1836 as the Trinity National School founded by Revd. Edward Blick. There are also two historic rope wells recently restored. Surrey Docks farm is at this point showing a working farm and how animals live (entrance is free and is open 10am-5pm, closed Mon & Fri). You rejoin the Thames Path, near to the farm entrance, for a short walk before cutting through the gardens and returning to Rotherhithe Street. Just pass the hotel you will notice Nelson House and Nelson Dock.

Nelson Dock and Nelson House

Nelson Dock and Nelson House

Nelson House was built in the 1740s on a former shipyard and probably built for one of the shipbuilding owners. Unusually the front entrance faces Rotherhithe Street rather than the Thames, this leads to the possibility that it led to the shipyard. The roof has an octagonal cupola with stunning views of the river. This Grade II* building is now in use as offices and not open to the public.

Next to the house is Nelson Dock. This dry dock was used for shipbuilding from the 17th Century and is not thought to be named after the famous admiral but possibly another Nelson. Warships and clippers were built here along with many other ships until the dock closed in 1968. The buildings you see today are the surviving sheds of Mill’s and Knight ship repairers who were based at Nelson Dock from 1886 until the docks closed.

Old Fire Station

Old Fire Station, built 1903

As you continue along Rotherhithe Street you will pass the Blacksmith’s Arms. If you are able to navigate a couple of steps you can turn right by the Canada Wharf Building and walk along the Thames Path, otherwise just continue along the street.

The next building of interest is the old fire station (now riverside flats). It was built in 1903 although an older station was here before. It was required to cope with any fires that might break out due to the large timber stocks located around the docks. You will notice the red doors – these were for the horse drawn vehicles used by the fire station. The station was one of London’s busiest and closed in 1965.

last updated: 12/03/2008 at 10:10
created: 08/07/2005

You are in: London > Coast > A Thames Tour of Rotherhithe

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A Thames Tour of Rotherhithe

The Thames Path
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Nelson House and Nelson Dock
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