Thames Path – St Katherine’s Dock – London Wall – 12.03.2012

This Spring Lunchtime Stroll, continued my walk Thames Path Walk from St Katherine’s Dock..

The sun was streaming down on the Thames and it’s inviting warmth was luring me to sit down and relax rather than walk. However, I wanted to enjoy the spring air while I could! The Thames Path along this stretch, I have to warn you is a little disjointed at this point. I often found it did not always stay alongside the river, which is a bit of a shame really. The first part of my route took me away from the river and I found myself walking beside a lovely lake with wonderfully restored industrial building. Unfortunately there were no indications as to what this was. I did find out later…

I wandered on back towards the river, where I found myself in “Hermitage Riverside Memorial Gardens”. This particular park was developed in the 1990’s, on the site of the original “Hermitage Wharf”. Hermitage Wharf suffered a fire bomb during the Blitz in World War II, so it is fitting that Memorial Gardens dedicated to the area have been created in it’s memory. There is a large dove statue in the Gardens by Wendy Taylor which is great reminder of the peace that now remains in this place since World War II. I understand that there was some controversy over the redevelopment of Hermitage Wharf, but despite not being the most elegant gardens in London, it is quiet and I would definitely say it is a peaceful place to contemplate and watch the world float by on the river.

From 2012 – 12.03.2012 – St Katherine Docks – London Wall

As much as I wanted to stay in the park I wandered on. It was here the that path diverts away from the river and found myself on Wapping High Street. However, before I left the Thames Path from the rest of the walk, I decided to take one last look at the river. It was here I could see a reminder of an original dock. The redeveloped warehouses that surrounded it, still had the original docking cranes still attached! It seems the redevelopers cannot hide any of the original purposes of these buildings!

When I turned into Wapping High street I was faced with a nice surprise. Iron bridges between warehouses. It was the same as “Shad Thames” which we had witnessed on the opposite of the river.. It was here that I turned off wapping high street. As I have already said most of the buildings could not hide there original use – that of Warehouses. This was true of another. Now a house, the two statues of a boy and girl indicating that this could have been a school of some kind.

Originally this was the charity school which served parish of Wapping, which was established in 1695 but this was a later building of 1765. How could I tell this was a charity school? The boy and girl that adorns the building are both wearing “bluecoats” The “blue coats” which the school children wore was normal for mid-16th century. This was because the colour Blue was cheapest dye available for clothing. An interesting fact that I picked up on my research was that Socks from this era was often dyed in saffron, as assumed this would prevent rats nibbling the pupils’ ankles!

From 2012 – 12.03.2012 – St Katherine Docks – London Wall

At this point I left behind St Johns Church and School to continue on my way. On this occasion my walk took my away from Wapping and back towards the Tower. I must admit was surprised when found myself walking past the very lake I found at the start of my walk! In fact this was the Shadwell Basin! I should have recognised this, as I had walked here previously. As I was walking along the roadside at this point, I did not take any photos… I think I really should have planned a better route!

However, it was not long before I caught up with another piece of London History, “London Wall”. This wall had been constructed by the Romans in the 2nd/3rd Century as part of the defense system of “Londinium” – or rather the Roman London. It seems that the wall was built from Kentish ragstone which had been transported all the way from Maidstone in Kent. There was approximately 85,000 tons of stones to actually build the wall. When it was complete it was nearly 3 miles (~5 km long), 6 – 9 feet (2 to 3 m) wide about 20 feet (6 m) high. It must have been a dominating sight, and I would have thought enough to scare any enemy away! The wall had been maintained right up until the 18th Century, but after this time it was left and fell into disuse.

Leaving the mighty wall behind, I came across a lovely Georgian Townhouse, where the Reverand Tubby Clayton lived. Tubby Clayton founded “Toch”. This now international Charity was created by Tubby Clayton out of the idea of setting up a rest home for serving soldiers during the First World War and in a place where everyone was treated equally. One of the founders of the movement said of the “Toc H” a year after it’s inception –

“What is Toc H? I can only say that it is just a gathering of young men who seek to rebuild a broken world with the mortar of comradeship and the bricks, the solid bricks, of personal service…. That is the first thing – that Toc H shall provide places where we can learn comradeship.”

It was here that I finished my lunchtime walk. I am sure I will pick up this London Walk at a later date!

Please feel free to look at all my walk’s photos!

2012 – 12.03.2012 – St Katherine Docks – London Wall

 

The short route I took for this walk is  as follows –

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