Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wapping, Execution Dock, 23rd June

This could be the place...
Wapping is a gorgeous little part of town, slightly off the beaten track. It’s on the Thames, east of Tower Hill and has several charming pubs with outdoors that allow views of the Thames. And, if you’re sitting outside doing just such a thing, then you may very well be sitting on top of the site of Execution Dock. Well, probably not on top of, but possibly alongside, especially if the pub you happen to be supping your pint in is the Captain Kidd, so named after one of the pirates to be put to death at Execution Dock.

Scary stairs
The exact location of the grisly landmark is somewhat debated over. I went down here last week, starting on the opposite side of the Thames in Rotherhithe, I used the guidance of a BBC show to walk down to a point opposite the Captain Kid, which is where they said you could see the famous site. We then crossed over and popped into the Kidd’s beer garden for a close up look. Then I went home and read in my Time Out guide that the site was actually at 62 Wapping High Street and marked by an ‘E’. So I went back and went to this address. I couldn’t see and E but I did find Wapping Old Stairs which lead right down to the water’s edge, if you care to go that close. I didn’t. 

So then I looked it up on Wikipedia and found an image of an old map showing that Execution Dock stairs were, in fact, closer to the Captain Kidd, or possibly even Wapping Overground station and so I had to satisfy myself that I’d got as close to the spot as I could. Such a shame that it hasn’t been preserved. Maybe it was thought too macabre to do that, but I would have appreciated it!

As I walked in to Wapping I passed by the Tobacco Docks and a pirate ship, of which I know little but thought I’d take a picture anyway. I also stumbled onto the Wapping Summer Shindig which looked pleasant but I had other goals for my day (West End Live, Canela) so I didn’t hang around. 

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