shad thames Shad Thames, cobbled street running through the old warehouses of Butlers Wharf.

butlers wharfButlers Wharf in the heart of the Pool of London. Location of the famous Conran restaurants.

St Saviour's DockSt Saviour’s Dock, made famous by Charles Dickens and James Bond 007.

design museumConran’s Design Museum on the Thames path, Butlers Wharf.

Shad Thames & Butlers Wharf

Shad Thames is a historic cobbled street that runs through Butler Wharfs from Tower Bridge to St Saviour’s Dock. The largest complex of wharves, warehouses and mills on the river Thames, Butler Wharf become derelict in the 1970’s after the Pool of London lost its shipping to coastal deep-water container ports.

Original 19th century features, including the iron bridges and overhead goods gantries which connected the warehouses together were kept during the 1980’s when the wharf was restored into fashionable shops, apartments and riverside restaurants. Many of the converted building were named, and smelled, after the good which were stored in them such as Tea Trade Wharf and Court, Cayenne Court.

Sir Terence Conran, designer and architect, was an early sponsor in the regeneration of the wharf, opening the Design museum and stylish restaurants including; the Blueprint café with panoramic view of the city, Butler’s Wharf Chop House and Le Pont de la Tour, where President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair once dined..

St Saviour’s Dock was formed in the middle-ages by monks from the nearby Bermondsey Abbey and named after their patron. The sinister tidal inlet which, can rise and fall over 4m, is at the mouth of the, now lost underground, River Neckinger. In the 17th century convicted pirates were hung at the mouth of the river, its name derived from the hangman’s noose, the ‘devil’s neckcloth’.

St Saviour’s Dock has been turned from an unsavoury poor and squalid area into a desirable residential location. Once described by Charles Dickens as ‘the filthiest and strangest localities hidden in London’ and by his newspaper, The Morning Chronicle, as ‘The Venice of drains’ it now contains luxury apartments. Used many times as a movie location, including scenes from James Bond 007, The World is Not Enough, St Saviour’s Dock features in the novel Oliver Twist, where Bill Sikes, Dickens’ most notorious and vicious character, falls from a roof near his den and dies in the river’s mud.

Design Museum

The Design Museum displays the best in modern design including product, graphic, architectural and fashion design.

Redesigned and modernised by the Conran Group of architects and designers from a disused banana warehouse, the museum attracts over 200,000 visitors come each year.

Inside there are two galleries, an education area, shop and café. The outside space, which overlooks the river, is also be used for exhibits.

Each year there is a competition for the best design in seven categories with the 2012 overall winner being the London 2012 Olympic Torch.


Hammersmith Bridge in London…

Hammersmith Bridge is a crossing of the River Thames in west London, just south of the Hammersmith town centre area of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on the north side of the river. It allows road traffic and pedestrians to cross to Barnes (in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames) on the south side of the river. The current bridge is the second permanent bridge on the site.


The construction of a bridge was first sanctioned by an Act of Parliament in 1824 and work on site began the following year. It was the Thames’ first suspension bridge and was designed by William Tierney Clark.

The bridge had a clear water-way of 688 feet 8 inches. Its suspension towers were 48 feet above the level of the roadway, where they were 22 feet thick. The roadway was slightly curved upwards, 16 feet above high water, and the extreme length from the back of the piers on shore was 822 feet 8 inches, supporting 688 feet of roadway. There were eight chains, composed of wrought-iron bars, each five inches deep and one thick. Four of these had six bars in each chain; and four had only three, making thirty-six bars, which form a dip in the centre of about 29 feet. From these, vertical rods were suspended, which supported the roadway, formed of strong timbers covered with granite. The width of the carriageway was 20 feet, with two footways of five feet. The chains passed over the suspension towers, and were secured to the piers on each shore. The suspension towers were of stone, and designed as archways of the Tuscan order. The approaches were provided with octagonal lodges, or toll-houses, with appropriate lamps and parapet walls, terminating with stone pillars, surmounted with ornamental caps. Construction of the bridge cost some £80,000. It was operated as a toll bridge.

Hammersmith Bridge 1827 - Project Gutenberg etext 12595

Engraving of the first Hammersmith Bridge, made in 1827

By the 1870s Hammersmith Bridge was not strong enough to support the weight of heavy traffic and the owners were alarmed in 1870 when 11,000-12,000 people crowded onto the bridge to watch the University Boat Race, which passes under the bridge just before the halfway point of its 4 1/4 mile course. In 1884 a temporary bridge was put up to allow a more limited cross-river traffic while a replacement was constructed.

The current suspension bridge was designed by noted civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette and rests on the same pier foundations constructed for Tierney Clark’s structure. The new bridge was built by Dixon, Appleby & Thorne. It was opened by the Prince of Wales on 11 June 1887.[1] With much of the supporting structure built of wrought iron, it is 700 feet (213.4 m) long and 43 feet (13.1 m) wide and cost £82,117 to build.

Structural soundness and repairsEdit


Hammersmith Bridge, seen from the Westminster to Kew tourist boat


250px Rowing crews racing under Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge has long suffered structural problems and has been closed for lengthy periods on several occasions, due to the weight and volume of road traffic now common in inner London, which the bridge was not originally designed to support.

The bridge was refurbished in 1973 with replacement steel trusses, improvements to the mid-span hangers and new deck expansion joints. New deck timbers were installed and surfacing was changed from wooden blocks to coated plywood panels. These panels were subsequently replaced in 1987.

In 1984 the Barnes-side tower bearings failed under a heavy load and had to be replaced.

In February 1997 the bridge was closed to all traffic except buses, bicycles, motorcycles, emergency vehicles and pedestrians to allow further essential repair works. Structural elements of the bridge had been found to be corroded or worn, in particular cross girders and deck surfacing, as well as some areas of masonry.

The bridge re-opened in July 1998 to all road users, subject to a 7.5 ton weight restriction and with a priority measure in place for buses. Local bus flow was controlled by traffic lights, and routes (such as the 72) were required to convert from double-decker buses to smaller single-deckers to reduce the load on the bridge.

As part of the renovations following the 2000 IRA bombing (see below), the bridge received a complete new paint job restoring it to the original colour scheme of 1887, and new lighting was installed.

The bridge was declared a Grade II listed structure in 2008, providing protection to preserve its special character from unsympathetic development.