Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
paint has replaced the whitewash rubbed by years of greasy shoulders on the open stairs.
The drawing of Shad Thames opposite shows you what to expect in this long riverside
street - tall warehouses, iron bridges, lowering alley ways, and gents' lavatories. These
can be enjoyed the whole length of the river from Horselydown to Deptford. The streets
bend round the Thames for most of the distance, only turning away from the river at one
or two places. The appearance of Shad Thames has changed little during the last century,
the only modern innovations being the lorries that now congest the narrow streets in place
of horse-drawn wagons. These Thames-side streets, built up on each side with cliff-like,
well-used warehouses, smell strongly of spice, and the language heard here can be best de-
scribed as Anglo-Saxon. Not far from Shad Thames, going east to the point where Jamaica
Road bends at Dockhead, is the site of one of the most notorious of the early nineteenth-
century rookeries - Jacob's Island, known to all readers of Oliver Twist . This has now
been swept away. In its time, it rivalled the rookery of St Giles, Seven Dials, and Tom-all-
Alones in Westminster, as a place of wretchedness and misery. Most of the crazy houses
were dropping into the mud, and were built on piles above the ditch, a ditch that served as
a supply of drinking water as well as a depository for dead cats and dogs.
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