Rotherhithe and Bermondsey are two different areas of South London. Yet, they are interlink by their nearness and history. While many people may struggle to understand how both areas can be put together, WISE16 believes in the potential of both areas being promoted at once.
As a local resident or a visitor, there is so much to see and explore in Rotherhithe. The former Docklands south of the river Thames has been for many years a haven for those who decided to move in and settle in the area. The proximity to the river path, the incredible green spaces, the parks and that sense of suburban countryside feeling and yet it is a central London area with transport connections to many parts of London.
The area is served by many bus routes connecting Canada Water, the main transport hub, with the West End, Lewisham, Greenwich or Peckham. The overground links the peninsula with Highbury and Islington and beyond to the north of the Brunel tunnel (currently used for the overground trains) and Peckham, Clapham Junction and west London to the south of Surrey Quays with another branch of the line to Crystal Palace. The Canada Water underground station is on the Jubilee line, go eastbound for Canary Wharf and Stratford or westbound to Bermondsey, London Bridge, Waterloo and Bond Street.
Rotherhithe retains much of its Docklands heritage, being Greenland Dock the largest surviving dock on the south bank and red bascule bridges can be seen in different spots across the peninsula. Other signs of those past times are represented in places such as Russia Dock, the Albion canal or Canada Water basin, the latter under enormous pressure to be developed as a “town centre”.
History and heritage are two key elements to the character of the area; it is not only the ship building and docks past that remains visible but the links to the New World across the Atlantic. The Mayflower Pub in the conservation area of Rotherhithe, referred to by some as Rotherhithe Village (a sometimes over-hyped term) still holds to the stories of the English Separatists, who later became known as the “Pilgrim Fathers”. The ship’s captain, Christopher Jones, died shortly after his return in 1621 and he is buried in an unmarked grave at St Mary’s Church, opposite the pub. The Mayflower sailed from near a public house called the Shippe in Rotherhithe Street, which was substantially rebuilt in the 18th century, called the Spread Eagle and Crown, and is now named the Mayflower.
It is the wildlife and nature what many residents and visitors are surprised to discover when they first come to this part of SE16, the postcode for this area. Lavender Pond, Stave Hill Ecological area or Russia Dock are the green lungs of the peninsula while Southwark Park, King’s Stairs Gardens and other small parks add that sense of “eco” label in a real sense. The wildlife of the area is diverse and the community feel proud of it.
A small parade of shops, restaurants and cafes plus the architecture of the Norwegian and Finnish churches or the building of the Albion Primary School are worth visiting. Not far off, you’ll find Rotherhithe underground station
This practical and handy map published by What’s On In Rotherhithe Group (Worg_info) is a must for anyone wishing to visit the Rotherhithe peninsula.
Stave Hill Ecological Park is a green lung right in the heart of Rotherhithe. The hand-made Stave Hill is more than a symbol in the area, it attracts visitors and residents alike to enjoy the wonderful views of London from SE16.
SE16 and SE1 both postcodes are homes to many and famous established markets such as Borough Markets as well as more recent ones as Deal Porters Square street food market. Whatever your choice, all are worth a visit while exploring Rotherhithe, Bermondsey and other adjacent neighbourhoods.