Shabby but not Chic – Photos of Wapping and Whitechapel in 1973

Pictures of a lost part of East London - gone forever.

Wapping and Whitechapel 1973

Boy at Cheshire Street Sunday Market, October 1973

These photographs of Wapping and Whitechapel and the Shadwell Basin were mostly taken in the autumn of 1973 by Jonathan Barker. More of his fascinating photographs can be found at his flickr site. In the early 1970s much of  this part of London, once so thriving and busy not least because of the lucrative nearby docks, was soon to be lost forever. Much of it now, of course, has been gentrified or demolished and the skylines have completely changed.

The London docks had been closed to shipping four years previously in 1969 and sold to the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Much of the land was still largely derelict when it was acquired in 1981 by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC). It was subsequently redeveloped with over 1,000 individual properties centred on the old Tobacco Dock and Shadwell Basin.

The controversial “Fortress Wapping” printing works of Rupert Murdoch’s News International corporation was constructed on the northern half of the infilled Western Dock. Hermitage Basin and Shadwell Basin survive. Wapping Basin is now a sports pitch and some of the Eastern Dock site is open space. A small canal runs across the southern part of the Western Dock site from Hermitage Basin to Tobacco Dock.

Much of the area around Wapping and Whitechapel suffered awful damage during the Blitz and from the German V-weapon attacks later in World War II.

East End 1973

Cheshire Street Sunday Market, Shoreditch, 1973

Whitechapel, October 1973

Whitechapel, December 1973: the London Hospital & street market

Wapping Warehouse, October 1973

Wapping High Street, 1973

Wapping 13 Oct 1973: Shadwell dock basin

Toys for the kids for Christmas? Cheshire Street Sunday Market, October 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Toys for the kids for Christmas? Cheshire Street Sunday Market, October 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Tower Bridge & Guy’s Hospital from closed entrance to old London dock, Wapping Pierhead, 13 Oct 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Stephen & Matilda Houses, Wapping, London 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Rotherhithe, Surrey Docks, Limehouse & Stepney from the Isle of Dogs, 13 October 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Cheshire Street Sunday Market, October 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Metropolitan Wharf, Wapping 13 Oct 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

From Wapping 13 Oct 1973: down the Thames from Shadwell basin lock

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Cheshire Street Sunday Market, October 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Cheshire St., Shoreditch, Jan 1973

Wapping Whitechapel East End London 1973

Children playing, Stephen & Matilda Houses, Wapping, London 1973

Wapping Whitechapel 1973

The block of flats that you can see in the background is Davenant House located atthe junction of Vallance Road, Old Montague Street and Hanbury Street. The tenements are the Brady Mansions on Brady Street. 1973

 

Metropolitan Wharf, Wapping 13 Oct 1973