Esoteric London

No. 146: Free Trade Wharf, E1

Posted in The Thames and its Tributaries by esotericlondon on September 20, 2010

© Roger Dean_SHI7991 - Roger.RGB copy

Free Trade Wharf, London, E1. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places, Volume 3 – Walter Thornbury, 1878:

Very peaceful and beautiful does the river look as we push off from one of the queer old flights of steps to be found at intervals all along the riversides. The light of the afternoon sun is gleaming down through a soft luminous mist, beneath which the face of old Father Thames looks up so smiling and placid that the idea that beneath his heaving bosom he conceals hideous secrets of death and decay, seems well nigh incredible. But he does so, nevertheless. Rarely a day passes but some poor struggling wretch goes down into those mysterious depths beneath that shining, glittering surface, never to rise again, or, if to rise, only to find a brief resting-place in one of the grim, foul little ‘dead-houses’ – scarcely less repulsive – dotted here and there among the dense population along the shores on either side of the great silent highway.

Of course they are not all found, but within the London portion of the river Thames – between Chelsea and Barking that is – there are on an average three or four of these poor waifs of humanity picked up every week.