Postcard of the month - #207 - September 2017

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Wapping Lane, Wapping

Wapping Lane has its origins in the Anglo-Saxons period, who settled this part of the River Thames after the Romans left. Originally the road was called Old Gravel Lane but was changed in the 1930s to Wapping Lane.

On the right is St. Peter’s Church, London Dock and the Clergy House. While opposite is Woodside Mansions with the public house the “Black Ball”. The dock wall and warehouse follow. Where the waterway crossed Wapping Lane was a swing Bridge. The cars and people are waiting for the bridge to close: this was called “getting a bridger” and was common throughout the dockland area. It made people late for work and children late for school. The ship belonged to the MacAndrew’s Line, which ran a regular service between London and the Mediterranean area. The ship is heading for the Western Dock.

With the closure of the London Dock in 1969, Wapping began its modern transformation. Woodside Mansions and the “Black Ball” public house were demolished and a small block of flats and the Wapping Health Centre built on the site. The dock wall was reduced in height and the warehouses demolished when residential apartments were built on the quay area. The swing bride was removed and a permanent way constructed. Wapping Lane still meanders its way from The Highway to Wapping High Street and many older member of the Wapping Community still calls it “Old Gravel Lane”.

This view of Wapping Lane looking north to The Highway was painted by Mackenzie Moulton: “The Wapping Artist”, c1980. The postcard was published by the History of Wapping Trust c1990

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