On Saturday 19 August, explore the historic Old Wapping with City of London tour guide Alison Turner.
In spite of serious damage owing to the Blitz, Wapping retains the look and feel of old London. Many of its Georgian warehouses, once the hub of London’s maritime trade with the world, remain standing. Its riverside is home to historic pubs such as the Prospect of Whitby, which lays claim to being the oldest riverside tavern, dating back to the time of Henry VIII 1520.
The walk takes place along Wapping High Street, exploring the docks and wharves, alleyways and ‘stairs’ down to the riverside and smugglers’ pubs, home to sixteenth-century intrigue.
Attendees will get to visit the Execution Dock, where pirates like Captain Kidd were executed and left chained up until three tides had washed over them; the historic boats of St Katharine’s Docks and the riverside headquarters of London’s first police force, the Thames River Police. Attendees will also hear about little-known female pirates and the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, the infamous attacks on two Wapping families in 1811.
The walk begins at the Tower of London at 11 am and ends at the Town of Ramsgate. The Town of Ramsgate is another historic pub; it is thought that the original public house on the site dates back to the 1460s. It got its current name from the fisherman who avoided taxes further up the river by unloading their catches on the Wapping Old Stairs next door to the pub.
Turner is well-versed in the history of the City of London. She is both a City of London tour guide and a producer of history documentaries for television. Her work includes Channel 4’s Time Team and the BBC’s Monty Don’s Italian Gardens. She is also the author of crime novels such as Body Language, a forensic mystery set in Camden Town.
For more information, visit Londonhistorywalks.co.uk
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