Posts Tagged ‘riverside flats’

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

Saturday, June 24th, 2023

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs: Tuesday June 24th 2014 was a nice Summer day in London. Not too hot, with a maximum in the low twenties, and with a blue sky tempered by some nice clouds and just a few light showers to cool me down. For me it was an ideal day for a bike ride and also for making some panoramic images.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

It was a while since I’d been to the Isle of Dogs, and there had been quite a few changes around there in recent years, so after an early lunch I put my folding bike on the train and made my way to Limehouse.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

It wasn’t really a bike ride, more just using the bike to carry me and my camera around the area, stopping on my way to make well over two hundred panoramic images in the roughly two and a half hours it took me to get to Island Gardens, opposite Greenwich for the train home. Later I worked on these images, selecting around 90 to put on-line – a higher than usual proportion. But I do rather more thinking about panoramic images and they require rather more care, particularly to get the camera absolutely level to keep the horizon straight.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

I posted them in two groups, Limehouse pans and Millwall – Isle of Dogs pans. All the images were converted using the PT Gui software implementation of the Vedutismo perspective (also called Panini) made popular by Canaletto and other Italian cityscape painters in the 18th century which allows a more realistic representation of extreme angles of view – something like 147 degrees horizontally in these images. These would be impossibly stretched towards the edges in a normal rectilinear view, which only works up to around 90 degrees.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

You can see any of these images larger on the links given to My London Diary at the end of this post, or by right-clicking on any of them and selecting to view them. Rather than write more about the ride here, I’ll quote from one of the posts there:

When I first walked these streets there was virtually no access to the riverside, with wharf after wharf between Westferry Rd and the river until you came to the park (Sir John McDougall Gardens.) A footbridge led from the Barkantine estate – built to replace a heavily bombed area of densely-packed small houses. South of this you again walked along the busy street until there were a few empty wharves around the south of the Isle of Dogs.

Now you can walk mainly along the riverside, with only one working area blocking the path. But there are several other places where you have to divert, including one wall dividing social housing from its wealthy neighbours. There was also a temporary diversion in one area, though it wasn’t clear why.

Further on are fine views across the river to Greenwich, along with further diversions from the riverside, where several earlier developments did not include riverside walks.

My London Diary

The Thames is too wide here for a panorama to work well without some foreground interest, or cropped to a very narrow strip. At the end of the ride, I did make a few pictures from Island Gardens across the river with a rather longer lens. These are in a separate post, also linked below.

Limehouse pans
Millwall – Isle of Dogs pans
Greenwich from the Isle of Dogs

Bermondsey Wall – St Saviour’s and Chambers Wharf 1988

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Bermondsey Wall – St Saviour’s and Chambers Wharf 1988 continues from the previous post Bermondsey – Rubber, Antiques, Murals & A Martyr 1988

Sr Saviour’s House, Tower Bridge, Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o24

I walked up George Row, following what had been the main course of the River Neckinger to Bermondsey Wall and St Saviour’s House, where I made one of my favourite images of London. The building, as No 21 Bermondsey Wall West, gets a short mention in Southwarks St Saviours Dock Conservation area appraisal from 2003 which notes it “has recently been restored and extended, losing some of its character“, though perhaps the main loss has been of its view of Tower Bridge with all that is now visible being the street side of modern riverside luxury flats.

Information I’ve been able to find on-line tells me only what the eye can see (though not all in my picture) which is that it has a “white rendered wall punctuated only by a large door with a classical segmental pediment, and a simple circular window above it.” It obviously gets its name from St Saviour’s Monastery and from its appearance I think was possibly a Catholic institution of some nature. When I posted on-line a view showing the rear of this building (since obscured by an extension) in 1983 a year or two ago I wrote:

“Google maps describes St Saviour’s House as a ‘Religious institution’ and it looks rather like a convent or convent school but it appears now to be expensive flats – around £1m for 2 bed – and one estate agent describes it as a ‘warehouse conversion’.

The road by St Saviour’s House is still narrow and with a slight curve rather like that in the picture, possibly originally following the bank of the river or a tidal canal. The front of St Saviour’s House is on George Row, where the River Neckinger ran, with a bridge over it here. The tidal canals had water let in every few days to for the mill immediately to the west, and the Neckinger, the Thames, St Saviour’s Dock and a canal alongside Wolseley St (then London St) formed the boundaries of the slum notorious in the early 19th century as Jacob’s Island, used by Dickens in Oliver Twist.

River Thames, Tower Bridge, Pier, Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-26-Edit_2400
River Thames, Tower Bridge, Pier, Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o26

Much of the riverside here is now full of luxury flats and is private here. On Bermondsey Wall West there is an area where you can look out along the river to Tower Bridge but a new block on the end of the older warehouses restricts the view.

Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-12
Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-12

This warehouse block, now converted to flats and offices as Tempus Wharf is still there at 29 Bermondsey Eall West, just to the east of the junction with Flockton St. This five storey warehouse dating dating from 1865-70 and is Grade II listed as Chambers Wharf, a rather confusing name as there was a much larger building known as Chambers Wharf a short distance to the east.

Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-14

On the 1896 OS Town plan this is named as Brunswick Wharf. It was built on the former site of Murrell’s Wharf as a granary. Later it was combined with the Seaborne Coal Wharf next door on the east as Sterling Wharf for paper and card. Chambers bought up many of the wharves along here in the 1930s and erected their large cold store (demolished in 2008-9) a little to the east. I think the name Tempus Wharf is just a little bit of Latin added to give it a little more class.

Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-15-Edit_2400
Bermondsey Wall West, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-15

A more distant view of the east side of St Saviour’s House from Bermondsey Wall West shows the large area of blank white rendered flat wall. In the redevelopment this was stepped out into George Row and perforated with windows and garage doors, with only a short section of the original now visible. It also gives an impression of the state of the area back in 1988

Robson Road Haulage, Chambers St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988

This building and the taller ones behind were a part of the Chambers Wharf Cold Stores site.


When Chambers Wharf and Cold Stores Ltd built their giant cold stores in the 1930s they were in a vaguely Deco style, but those parts rebuilt after wartime bomb damage were rather plainer. The buildings were huge, and resulted in the closing of a section of Bermondsey Wall, dividing it into West and East, with the frontage here on Chambers St. The river frontage had 3 berths and there were frequent services from the continent bringing meat and other perishable goods here. It closed as a cold store in the 1980s and was briefly used as a gold bullion & document store.

Various plans were put forward for its redevelopment, including as a heliport for London, which the graffiti here, ‘BUILD YOUR HELIPORT IN YOR BACK GARDN NOT OURS’ shows was not welcome in the area and a strong local campaign by CHOP saw an end to that proposal. Finally planning permission was given for a residential development. The cold stores were demolished around 2008 but progress on the site has been held up by the Thames Tideway Tunnel super-sewer works for which it it a major site.

Chambers Wharf, Chambers St, Bermondsey, 1988 88-10p-65

A final picture for this post of another part of the Chambers Wharf site, still with its sign. I turned around and walked back to Bermondsey Wall West, where the next post on the walk will begin.