Monday, 17 June 2013

Down to Wapping

I received an email from a young designer who had found my drawings on Flickr and was enquiring about the possibility of using some of them in the redesign of  a menu for a London pub. Now as it happens, this pub is one of my favourite London pubs, so I was immediately hooked. The pub is The Town of Ramsgate, situated down in Wapping. When I was a boy this was a dodgy area that suburban folk like me would rarely visit. Back then it was warehouses, docks and ill-lit streets, with stone setts, and no easy transport links. Now it's very upmarket apartments in converted warehouses and there's a refurbished station for the newly refurbished London Overground.
The Town of Ramsgate dates back to at least the mid-sixteenth century. It is a riverside pub, right next to the Old Wapping Steps, an ancient access to the river itself, and the foreshore. It's an area of interesting history. These steps were the site of execution for those found guilty of piracy, whose bodies were hung on the gibbet until they had been covered by three tides. Captain Kidd is reputed to have been one of these unfortunates. The pub itself was the place where the London mob found and caught the notorious 'Hanging' Judge Jefferies who was trying to arrange a boat to flee his own trial.
If you're visiting London, I'd recommend a visit, just a little walk east of Tower Bridge.
I met the designer at the pub, and had time for a quick drawing from the steps across the river to Rotherhithe:
Rotherhithe from the top of Wapping Old Steps

The visit to Wapping, and my discussions with the designer, made me dig out the old  (2009ish) drawings that I hadn't looked at for a while. Here they are:

Wapping Old Steps, tide rising

Wapping High Street - Gun Wharves

Wapping church

Beside the Town of Ramsgate - alley leading to the Wapping Old Steps



  1. Good stuff! I have sketched at the Captain Kidd pub before, really cool location.

  2. I do enjoy seeing any of the Urban Sketchers London posts. Your eye and talent do capture parts of a wonderful city that I miss, even though I do live in another wonderful city.

    Best wishes.

  3. these are awesome. A sketching meet up at the pub when the menus are ready and on view in full glory?!

  4. That sounds a good idea, Olha.


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