June 13, 2013

Down to Wapping

I received an email from a young designer who had found my drawings on Flickr and was enquiring about the possibility of using some of them in the redesign of  a menu for a London pub. Now as it happens, this pub is one of my favourite London pubs, so I was immediately hooked. The pub is The Town of Ramsgate, situated down in Wapping. When I was a boy this was a dodgy area that suburban folk like me would rarely visit. Back then it was warehouses, docks and ill-lit streets, with stone setts, and no easy transport links. Now it's very upmarket apartments in converted warehouses and there's a refurbished station for the newly refurbished London Overground.
The Town of Ramsgate dates back to at least the mid-sixteenth century. It is a riverside pub, right next to the Old Wapping Steps, an ancient access to the river itself, and the foreshore. It's an area of interesting history. These steps were the site of execution for those found guilty of piracy, whose bodies were hung on the gibbet until they had been covered by three tides. Captain Kidd is reputed to have been one of these unfortunates. The pub itself was the place where the London mob found and caught the notorious 'Hanging' Judge Jefferies who was trying to arrange a boat to flee his own trial.
If you're visiting London, I'd recommend a visit, just a little walk east of Tower Bridge.
I met the designer at the pub, and had time for a quick drawing from the steps across the river to Rotherhithe:

Rotherhithe from the top of Wapping Old Steps

The encounter has made me look back at the drawings I did around Wapping a few years ago, that may now be used in the new pub menu design. Here are some:

Wapping High Street - Gun Wharves. These old warehouses are now apartments backing on to the river

Wapping church

The passage from the High Street, down the side of the Town of Ramsgate, to Wapping Old Steps and the River

Wapping Old Steps


dinahmow said...

Fascinating. I used to work near there(in the 60s).I'll be in London in a week, but doubt I'll have time to see it.

Murray Dewhurst said...

Great drawings. It's over 20 years since I wandered this area, would love to check it out again, in it's gentrified form!

VHein said...

Very elegantly beautiful drawings--a real pleasure to see.