Deal Porter piling softwood planks 1930

1930s Deal Porters piling softwood planks at the Surrey Docks

The developments that have taken place over the last thirty years in Rotherhithe have left only traces of the dockland history of the area. Reaching well back into the Middle Ages, Rotherhithe has been associated with shipbuilding and marine trades such as sail and rope making and ship’s chandlery. As trade grew with Empire, the waterfront became dominated by wharves specialising in particular cargo such as grain and later timber (Lawrence Wharf), dried fruit, cocoa, tea and coffee (Columbia Wharf now site of Pagent Steps) and associated crafts such as carving, blacksmithing and – no surprise – brewing!

Mike Reardon and his son Michael have for years been filming the life of Rotherhithe and particularly its history. They have agreed to us making use of their films here and I hope these four early efforts from Michael – edited in 2007 – offers us all an opportunity to become more acquainted with the area’s history and beauty.

The History of Rotherhithe (Part 1)

The History of Rotherhithe (Part 2)