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lost rotherhithe street

The western end of Rotherhithe Street and the adjoining streets was, in many respects, the heart of Rotherhithe. Today only one property remains - No. 41, a house which for many years was offices for Braithwaite and Dean, Lightermen. The buildings to the west of No. 41 up to the Angel Public House were either destroyed by a fire just before the Second World War or by bombing at the start, the buildings to the east by London County Council in the early 1960s.

The riverfront properties had largely been occupied by by barge builders and repairers and before that sail-makers and mast-makers. The historic 'Jolly Waterman' public house also stood here and was in use up until the 1030s. Many of the buildings were mid-eighteenth century and featured in James McNeill Whistler's well known 'Thames Set' of etchings. By the 1950s the buildings had become popular among a certain artistic set. Anthony Armstrong Jones lived here and it was said that Princess Margaret was a frequent visitor (Ellmers and Werner (1988). The London County Council were 'determined to replace this ancient vitality with parkland' (Humphries 2004: 35). There was a campaign to save the houses and some of the character of the area.  Sir John Betjeman and others tried to make the case for alternative developments - but they failed.

References: Ellmers, C. and Werner, A. (1988) London's Lost Riverscape, London: Viking; Humphries, S. (2004) Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Remembered, Stroud: Tempus.
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