£15
Wapping - A Seething Mass of Misery

Wapping - A Seething Mass of Misery

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£15

Location

Tower Hill

Tower Hill

London

United Kingdom

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From the Thames Stairs to Ratcliff Highway – an exploration of the history and development of Wapping.

About this event

Wapping – A Seething Mass of Misery. So wrote Francis Wey in the 1850s in his book, A Frenchman Sees the English in the Fifties.

As London’s docks expanded to the east, Wapping developed to serve the docks and the river, and this expansion resulted in living conditions that would lead to Francis Wey’s description.

Wapping was different to the rest of east London as it developed a nautical subculture, one that existed to serve and exploit sailors arriving on the ships that would moor on the river.

This walk will discover the history of Wapping, and will run from near Tower Hill underground station, along Wapping High Street and Wapping Wall, across the old Ratcliff Highway to Shadwell Overground and DLR stations.

We will explore the development of the docks, the ancient gateways between land and river that are the Thames stairs, lost and surviving pubs, the history of the River Police, a sailor’s experience of Wapping, warehouses, crime and punishment, murders and a burial at a crossroads. We will also trace what remains of the London Docks, and where dock walls can still be found in surprising places.

We will also meet some of the people who lived, worked and passed through Wapping, such as the Purlmen who worked on the river, and John Morrison, a ship’s boy on a collier, who in 1832 almost froze to death whilst waiting to row his master back to his ship after a night in Wapping’s pubs.

The walk will use some of my father’s photos to show the area post-war, and will look at how Wapping has developed to become the place we see today, and should be considerably more enjoyable than Francis Wey's description.

The walk is about 2.5 miles and will take between two and a quarter, and two and a half hours.

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