Butlers Wharf

On the south bank of the Thames immediately east of Tower Bridge (and therefore opposite St Katharine's Dock) lies Butlers Wharf. Once it was a complex of wharves and warehouses that was part of the Port of London docks complex. Then, along with the rest of the docks, it fell into decline. The mean, dilapidated lanes within the complex enjoyed brief fame as a Dr Who film set during the early eighties, but after the departure of the Daleks the developers moved in and began the transformation of the wharf into an imaginative mix of apartments, offices, restaurants and leisure facilities. At the time of writing most of the refurbishment is complete.

A central piazza is the main focal point of the complex. A riverside walk has also been opened up, part of the Thames Path from the Greenwich flood barrier up to the source in Cricklade, Gloucestershire. The main road though the wharf, the strangely-named Shad Thames, still features the overhead goods gantries that once linked the warehouses together.

Recently opened within the complex are the London Design museum and the adjacent Tea and Coffee museum. The Wharf complex is bounded to the east by the sinister tidal inlet of St Saviour's Dock, beside which stands New Concordia Wharf. This building has now been converted into offices and apartments but, a century ago, Charles Dickens set Bill Sykes's den here in "Oliver Twist". I wonder what Dickens would have made of the area's transformation.

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Tower Bridge from Butlers Wharf

Shad Thames;  Butlers Wharf Piazza

Butlers Wharf Piazza

St Saviour's Dock

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   The Design Museum
   Map of Butlers Wharf and aerial photos by Streetmap.co.uk

This page last updated 24th October 2002