Wapping: Maritime history on the banks of the River Thames

Wapping: Maritime history on the banks of the River ThamesThere are many reasons to choose property to rent in Wapping, not least its excellent location.

This small East London district is part of the borough of Tower Hamlets and is sandwiched quietly between two major financial districts and places of work - the City and Canary Wharf.

Wapping stretches across from Tower Bridge and St Katherine's Docks to Limehouse, and down from the Highway - a road that serves as an unofficial boundary to the district - to the River Thames.

History of the area

Wapping was first settled by the Saxons and this is where the area gets its name, since Wapping literally means the place of Waeppa's people.

It was largely marshland until the 16th century when it was drained and then later acquired for the London Docks. Many of its original buildings were demolished to make way for the construction.

Wapping was also seriously damaged during the Blitz and therefore became run down after the Second World War. But all of this changed in the 1980s when the London Docklands Development Corporation began to convert its old abandoned warehouses into luxury flats.

Maritime character

Wapping has a strong maritime character thanks to its proximity to the River Thames and its history as a major port. The country's first marine police force was also established in the district in 1798.

The Metropolitan Police Maine Policing Unit is still base in Wapping today and there are many other signs of the area's maritime past, including the many inns that line the river bank.

The Prospect of Whitby is perhaps the most popular, featuring an old staircase that descends to the Thames foreshore, where fragments of old dock installations can be seen.

Local amenities

Wapping is a reasonably quiet part of London, but there is still plenty to see and do. During the week its olde world pubs, modern cafes and restaurants are usually filled with workers from nearby offices, and on the weekend it takes on a more relaxed atmosphere as the locals come out to play.

The district is home to a number of parks, gardens and green spaces where residents can enjoy a walk or a picnic, including Wapping Woods and Wapping Rose Gardens.

One of the area's biggest attractions is the Wapping Project gallery, which a multipurpose exhibition and performance space located in the historic Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, featuring newly commissioned works by visual artists, designers, filmmakers, choreographers and more.

Shopping-wise, most of the everyday items residents need can be purchased in Wapping's small independent shops and convenience stores, and there are also plenty of local businesses such as hairdressers, dry cleaners, pharmacies and dentists.

Transport

Aside from its many luxurious properties to rent, which range from huge penthouse apartments within former warehouses overlooking the River Thames to new build flats and three-bedroom houses, it is Wapping's excellent location that makes it such an attractive place to live.

There is no London Underground Station within Wapping itself, but it is within walking distance of Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Liverpool Street, so residents can easily get around. There is also Wapping railway station on the London Overground network.

Tower Hill Tube station is easily reachable for many residents, as is the DLR station Tower Gateway, while nearby Shadwell to the north of the Highway also has a DLR and an Overground station.
 

Published 19th October, 2012

© 2012 Estates IT Limited

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